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Concussion (Merged Threads)


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9 minutes ago, Angelic Cynic said:

I wonder how the female gender,who didn't play any sport,account for their higher numbers of diagnosis?

https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/blog/why-dementia-different-women#:~:text=Facts about women and dementia,in women than in men.

Irrelevant though. No-one is arguing that sport, or blows to the head are the only causes of dementia. Alzheimers has quite a strong link with Diabetes and poor diet, for example.

Likewise, no-one is arguing that risk can be removed from everything. I know somebody who died while out jogging - not due a to a heart attack, but because there was a fallen high voltage line from an electricity pylon.

However, that doesn't remove the duty of care from RL administrators to do what they can to make the game safer. And even if you take the legal aspect away, there's still the issue of parents not wanting their kids to play, and fewer and fewer adults playing. 

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21 minutes ago, RugbyLeagueGeek said:

Part of the problem with this issue of brain injuries, is that if 49 year old Bobbie Goulding told 18 year old Bobbie Goulding that playing pro rugby would mean he was diagnosed with dementia by the time he was 50, what do we think 18 year old Bobbie Goulding would have said?

This is a very good point. It's not possible for an 18 year old to have the foresight to know how they would view their choices when they are older.

Take Garry Schofield and his changing stance. Journalist Jon Davidson shared an old article he wrote about concussion which quotes Schofield being critical of the idea of taking legal action because players know the risks. Compare that to his recent comments regarding his health issues. His perspective has changed due to current circumstances.

Comments from current players on tackles making contact with the head suggest a large number think the game is being too strict and that they know the risks. It's possibly they will hold that view until they suffer a health issue that someone says may have been caused by playing rugby. Then hindsight kicks in and they look on their last career differently and what matters most isn't the enjoyment they got from playing but the impact it has on the rest of their lives.

Ultimately if you're young and reckless and doing something you love you will take the risks without thinking of the realities of what it may mean in the future. If that then leads to health issues in later life there's a strong possibility you will regret it, or at the very least owed some compensation for the risks taken.

I can't blame any of these players taking legal action. Health care can be expensive even with NHS care. If there's a chance you can get some compensation that makes living with a health problem easier I think most people would take that chance. Whether they would play RL and do it all over again exactly the same doesn't come into it.

What the sport needs to decide is whether they want players to continue taking these risks and simply sign a waiver, or if they want to do as much as possible to minimise the risks knowing players may suffer later in life and have a different view of the risks they were taking in hindsight.

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9 hours ago, Pie tries said:

We need to listen to the guys. Sit them down and understand where we went wrong - and fix it. Somethings like contact training restrictions are easy enough…

 

9 hours ago, EagleEyePie said:

Comments from current players on tackles making contact with the head suggest a large number think the game is being too strict and that they know the risks. It's possibly they will hold that view until they suffer a health issue that someone says may have been caused by playing rugby. Then hindsight kicks in and they look on their last career differently and what matters most isn't the enjoyment they got from playing but the impact it has on the rest of their lives.

Ultimately if you're young and reckless and doing something you love you will take the risks without thinking of the realities of what it may mean in the future. If that then leads to health issues in later life there's a strong possibility you will regret it, or at the very least owed some compensation for the risks taken.

I think while any rule changes must be carefully considered for the risk of changing the game too significantly, where we can clearly impact is 1) punishment 2) post-concussion 3) training/scheduling/rules. Number 1 has obviously been spoken about plenty. 

I currently coach a university RL team, and here is the post-concussion protocol we have. 

1 - absolute rest for 2 weeks

2 - re-test for concussion against baseline

3 - if pass the re-test, can slowly progress from a light jog to playing over the following week. If fail the re-test, I think it's another week or two before you can go again. If any of the progressions in activity result in the return of symptoms, you return to absolute rest. 

As coach, I get no say in this, nor do the RL club generally - it's all administered by the medical staff at the uni. At absolute best, after being removed from a match with concussion, we'll have them back in 3 weeks. Often it's more likely to be 4-5 weeks. These are students, playing at a far lower intensity, and likely only playing 10-12 matches a year for 3-4 years at most. 

With regards to training/scheduling, neck strength is a huge protective mechanism for concussion, and one that I believe isn't trained sufficiently enough. A longer pre-season also protects against injury (presumably including concussion), and providing that training is sensible, a shift towards fewer games is likely to result in fewer concussions. Instead, we rush players through pre-season, cram loads of games in and hope for the best. 

Fewer games and stricter Return to Play protocols are two fixes that could be implemented without fundamentally changing the nature of the game. Unfortunately, clubs wouldn't like them for obvious reasons. 

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I have a couple of thoughts about this. 

First, in order to sue the RFL, wouldn't there need to be some kind of indication that they told the players to use their heads with a suggestion that it wouldn't harm them? From what I understand, that was the problem for the NFL - the players were (are?) encouraged to use their heads almost like a weapon, on the understanding that the helmet protects them. In rugby (both codes) striking the head was always discouraged (maybe not enough), but there has to be understanding that a collision sport will include some accidental head contact. That must come with informed consent - I don't think anyone thought that head impact was good for you. 

Second, looking to participation I think that there is a big difference between pro and amateur (or there was when I was playing). I think that this needs to be stressed - and I think that the RU are starting to do that. They always seem to mention that the studies are on pros. I think that might help parents let their kids play - not everyone takes their kid down on a Sunday expecting them to be the next big thing!

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Just now, ivans82 said:

The whole thing with head contact is impossible to quantify , from high tackles , to heading the ball , to boxing ,i wouldn`t know where to start and how you could make a legal case to me is impossible .

I think this is the difficulty and where things can get very messy. There are all kinds of risk factors which come to dementia and great debate on why some people get dementia and not others. Both my Grandparents on one side had it and its truly awful, neither played Rugby I hasten to add. Family history, age, diet, exercise, alcohol use, depression, smoking amongst many others are all thought to be risk factors.

Therefore if a player has any family history, drank alcohol, smoked, diabetes etc then I think it becomes awfully difficult to conclusively prove it was caused by RL. I am not saying that playing RL isn't a risk factor but it is one of many others.

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I definitely aren't going to trivialise or downplay BG's illness - my own mother died from dementia so I know what a horrible disease it is. 

But I aren't sure what the answer is here, apart from RL ceasing to exist or at least, is altered so it's simply unrecognisable to the game we have known. 

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9 minutes ago, Damien said:

I think this is the difficulty and where things can get very messy. There are all kinds of risk factors which come to dementia and great debate on why some people get dementia and not others. Both my Grandparents on one side had it and its truly awful, neither played Rugby I hasten to add. Family history, age, diet, exercise, alcohol use, depression, smoking amongst many others are all thought to be risk factors.

Therefore if a player has any family history, drank alcohol, smoked, diabetes etc then I think it becomes awfully difficult to conclusively prove it was caused by RL. I am not saying that playing RL isn't a risk factor but it is one of many others.

Which is why, in cases like this, it tends to boil down to finding out what the authorities had in place with regards to duty of care, whether they behaved dishonestly in any way (such as pretending not to know about head trauma as an example), and if there are provable examples of whatever rules were in place not being followed.

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2 hours ago, unapologetic pedant said:

A parent`s response to reading this story might well be to prevent their son or daughter playing RL.

The child could then live a sedentary miserable existence, develop type 2 diabetes, and die of a heart attack in their forties. 

Come the time, will the lawyers go after the Daily Mail?

 

Or they could just play a safer sport (the likeliest option).

There are only circa 45 thousand across all age groups who play RL weekly in England. You make a collision based sport even more dangerous with bigger, faster, stronger, that small number will only decline.

I know I’m coming from a football perspective on this but I’ll never grasp why RL players get lauded for getting a battering during games. It’s a tough sport yeah, but the body wasn’t designed to take brutal punishment. Phil Caplan in last weeks forty20 podcast was extolling the virtues of a Catalan player who played down his injury in an interview after the Grand final (would need to check again what injury he got, might have been ribs). My first thought is mug. Taking such punishment is for very few, and even fewer as the ferocity of the hits increase which is what is happening. RU the physicality is even worse with mammoth players now “80% neck” and no longer resembling humans.

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8 minutes ago, gingerjon said:

Which is why, in cases like this, it tends to boil down to finding out what the authorities had in place with regards to duty of care, whether they behaved dishonestly in any way (such as pretending not to know about head trauma as an example), and if there are provable examples of whatever rules were in place not being followed.

Yep, the only area that I can really see RL being liable in is procedures rather than saying RL definitely caused this or that. I also think clubs could be in the firing line as much as the RFL for not following protocol or being dishonest.

I certainly don't think this is the end of RL, no more so than Boxing continuing for decades despite everyone being well aware of the dangers. The sport does need to be stronger though and have watertight protocols in place. Things like returning to the mandatory 2 week rest that used to be in place and then tests should be done asap.

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12 minutes ago, Johnoco said:

I definitely aren't going to trivialise or downplay BG's illness - my own mother died from dementia so I know what a horrible disease it is. 

But I aren't sure what the answer is here, apart from RL ceasing to exist or at least, is altered so it's simply unrecognisable to the game we have known. 

I stated a while ago that once the Ambulance Chasing Lawyer's get round to RL we either change the rules so drastically that it loses any semblance to the game we know, this guy who is representing the 10 player's suing the RFL has a further 40 RL player's on his books, I think this is a test case and many further will follow if any future judgement goes against the RFL.

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32 minutes ago, gingerjon said:

Which is why, in cases like this, it tends to boil down to finding out what the authorities had in place with regards to duty of care, whether they behaved dishonestly in any way (such as pretending not to know about head trauma as an example), and if there are provable examples of whatever rules were in place not being followed.

I find the biggest issue in these cases is judging the past on what is now known in the present

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5 minutes ago, Harry Stottle said:

I stated a while ago that once the Ambulance Chasing Lawyer's get round to RL we either change the rules so drastically that it loses any semblance to the game we know, this guy who is representing the 10 player's suing the RFL has a further 40 RL player's on his books, I think this is a test case and many further will follow if any future judgement goes against the RFL.

The rules don't need to change though. They just need to be enforced much more strictly.

In terms of compensation I'm not sure what can really happen there. Presumably this would fall under whatever insurance the RFL has. If not we all know the RFL hasn't a pot to **** in so there will be no real money being paid by the RFL. It will go bankrupt and then a new governing body will be formed with no liabilities from the previous administration. We've seen things like this with the collapse of the British Athletic Federation and them being succeeded by UK Athletics.

I have every sympathy for the players. I think we are all aware of the great pressure that they must be under to stay on the field, or get on the field, to perform. I felt like that as a kid and amateur player when I wasn't even paid and played on when I certainly shouldn't, even as a young teen. I suppose that's another question where does the failure in the duty of care stop? The unfortunate thing is unless insurance stumps up I just don't see any winners in this.

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2 minutes ago, Spidey said:

I find the biggest issue in these cases is judging the past on what is now known in the present

Which is why the proof is always in following the sequence about what was known when and what was acted on when.

It's why there have been successful actions against tobacco companies. They knew - and it can be proven that they knew - but they then lied in their response.

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Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life. (Terry Pratchett)

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19 minutes ago, Damien said:

Yep, the only area that I can really see RL being liable in is procedures rather than saying RL definitely caused this or that. I also think clubs could be in the firing line as much as the RFL for not following protocol or being dishonest.

I certainly don't think this is the end of RL, no more so than Boxing continuing for decades despite everyone being well aware of the dangers. The sport does need to be stronger though and have watertight protocols in place. Things like returning to the mandatory 2 week rest that used to be in place and then tests should be done asap.

I don't think RL has the same depth as boxing but the protection of someone's head is much more straightforward in a sport like boxing, where your opponent is essentially static (not exactly correct I know) rather than RL where opponents are all over the place and ducking and diving.

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There wasn't the same level of care when these players were plying their trade on the pitch as there is now and its sad that there are so many now suffering from physical & mental ill health. But society and the game was different then. I can recall Goulding being involved with numerous on-field incidents including committing head high tackles & punch-ups etc. (and in Goulding's case numerous off-field incidents as well including fights)

The science & understanding behind brain injuries wasn't anything like it is now and the players themselves had little regard for their own welfare (just like the clubs). So while I understand the motives from some of these players I doubt they will see any sort of success through the courts given they themselves were in part responsible for some of the injuries they incurred.

 

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Just now, Johnoco said:

I don't think RL has the same depth as boxing but the protection of someone's head is much more straightforward in a sport like boxing, where your opponent is essentially static (not exactly correct I know) rather than RL where opponents are all over the place and ducking and diving.

That's not the point though. The point is that people are well aware of the risks and dangers and the sport continues. From a RL point of view it just needs to make sure that it mitigates risk as much as possible by strictly enforcing its rules and has protocols in place that minimise any ill effects that arise from head knocks.

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23 minutes ago, Damien said:

Yep, the only area that I can really see RL being liable in is procedures rather than saying RL definitely caused this or that. I also think clubs could be in the firing line as much as the RFL for not following protocol or being dishonest.

I certainly don't think this is the end of RL, no more so than Boxing continuing for decades despite everyone being well aware of the dangers. The sport does need to be stronger though and have watertight protocols in place. Things like returning to the mandatory 2 week rest that used to be in place and then tests should be done asap.

But in the piece Goulding states that there were procedures in place(baseline cognitive tests) but as players they manipulated the results of these test, by getting other player to complete them etc.

If this was the case then the RFL can only do so much if the players did not take these tests seriously then that is where a portion of the blame lies.

I don’t buy into the claim that the tests were unregulated and open to manipulation, the protocol was presumably designed to be done by responsible adults, who did not require constant supervision.

That is not to say that the suggestion that other agencies could have put undue pressure on players to manipulate these test, isn’t valid. But without any hard proof of this happening that it is just hearsay and can be rightfully refuted.

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22 minutes ago, Damien said:

That's not the point though. The point is that people are well aware of the risks and dangers and the sport continues. From a RL point of view it just needs to make sure that it mitigates risk as much as possible by strictly enforcing its rules and has protocols in place that minimise any ill effects that arise from head knocks.

But what you, me, or the RFL find acceptable in a sport will probably not be shared by the medical authorities. The whole ‘tackle’ might be deemed unsafe. 

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3 hours ago, unapologetic pedant said:

When you`ve had a serious think, let us know your conclusions.

Strange post

It's not my job to come up with that information, that's why we have the RFL

Besides, my (thankfully short) career in amateur RL all those years ago, with the full contact that happened, has impacted my ability to think 😵💫

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17 minutes ago, Johnoco said:

But what you, me, or the RFL find acceptable in a sport will probably not be shared by the medical authorities. The whole ‘tackle’ might be deemed unsafe. 

That's irrelevant, the medical authorities deem plenty of things unsafe but yet they continue and people aren't sued. Something carrying risk doesn't mean that activity is banned or that the risk cant be mitigated against with measures and appropriate warnings.

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5 minutes ago, paulwalker71 said:

Strange post

It's not my job to come up with that information, that's why we have the RFL

Besides, my (thankfully short) career in amateur RL all those years ago, with the full contact that happened, has impacted my ability to think 😵💫

It`s futile urging the RFL to take this seriously and think about it without saying what you think about it. 

If no solution exists, it won`t matter how seriously they think about it.

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This is partly the reason why we need to get rid of Barrie McDermott and Terry O'Connor too. When perceptions are key the way they talk about illegal tackles and moan when penalties are rightly given for illegal tackles does absolutely nothing for the game when we are trying to make it safer and encourage more people to play it.

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Probably be savaged for asking this - Is it possible that the definition of dementia has widened in recent times?

Billy Connelly was diagnosed with Parkinson`s years ago, yet in a recent interview he was in fine form. No doubt he has problems, but he`s 78. Historically most people didn`t get close to that age.

All the conditions classified as being on the autism spectrum just sound like descriptions of types of personality. Once something is medicalized, doctors and drug companies get paid to diagnose and treat it.

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  • John Drake changed the title to Concussion (Merged Threads)

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