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Concussion (Merged Threads)


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5 hours ago, Grand Est said:

100% right @Wakefield Ram

Rugby League has massive problems ahead. People within and outside the game are aware of this. I have heard a couple of people who work in sport (not Rugby League) who are well informed saying exactly that just recently.

Anyone on here disagreeing with you on this one is utterly deluded.

It's not taken you long to get with the program, I see. Welcome to the discussion forum.

Edited by JohnM
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“The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.”
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53 minutes ago, JohnM said:

It's not taken you long to get with the program, I see. Welcome to the discussion forum.

Well, let's see shall we?

If you disagree with Wakefield Ram's point above, then (IMO) you are utterly deluded.

Rugby League is in a serious spot here from a safety perspective. I am hearing that consequences could even extend to the youngest junior grades, as RL insists on competitive, full contact matches at even the youngest levels.

If you have different information, then fair enough, but from what I am hearing, the game has big problems ahead.

 

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3 hours ago, Grand Est said:

Well, let's see shall we?

If you disagree with Wakefield Ram's point above, then (IMO) you are utterly deluded.

Rugby League is in a serious spot here from a safety perspective. I am hearing that consequences could even extend to the youngest junior grades, as RL insists on competitive, full contact matches at even the youngest levels.

If you have different information, then fair enough, but from what I am hearing, the game has big problems ahead.

 

Tag & Mini Mod rugby is played at the youngest levels,hardly competitive & I’ve yet to see a head tackle in either form.

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12 hours ago, RayCee said:

They don’t want to tamper with the product and so do a bit of window dressing to make it seem they take duty of care seriously.  

I think this line sums up a lot of the games action on player welfare - not just physical health, but mental and financial health as well. State of Mind is a great T-shirt campaign, but it's not followed through by enough action. 

There is currently a group of players making the argument against this legal claim saying "I knew the risks and RL has been good to me", but are they honestly able to say that the sport mitigated those risks? When the sport was asking players to play three times in eight days over Easter, is that mitigating the risks? When they're doing full contact training, is that mitigating the risks? When players can play around 35 games a year, go on international duty and barely have a break, is that mitigating the risks?

If the game's response to issues like that is, "well, we needed to play all those games because we needed the money", then it isn't good enough. 

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52 minutes ago, whatmichaelsays said:

I think this line sums up a lot of the games action on player welfare - not just physical health, but mental and financial health as well. State of Mind is a great T-shirt campaign, but it's not followed through by enough action. 

There is currently a group of players making the argument against this legal claim saying "I knew the risks and RL has been good to me", but are they honestly able to say that the sport mitigated those risks? When the sport was asking players to play three times in eight days over Easter, is that mitigating the risks? When they're doing full contact training, is that mitigating the risks? When players can play around 35 games a year, go on international duty and barely have a break, is that mitigating the risks?

If the game's response to issues like that is, "well, we needed to play all those games because we needed the money", then it isn't good enough. 

Then we return to part time 

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1 hour ago, whatmichaelsays said:

I think this line sums up a lot of the games action on player welfare - not just physical health, but mental and financial health as well. State of Mind is a great T-shirt campaign, but it's not followed through by enough action. 

There is currently a group of players making the argument against this legal claim saying "I knew the risks and RL has been good to me", but are they honestly able to say that the sport mitigated those risks? When the sport was asking players to play three times in eight days over Easter, is that mitigating the risks? When they're doing full contact training, is that mitigating the risks? When players can play around 35 games a year, go on international duty and barely have a break, is that mitigating the risks?

If the game's response to issues like that is, "well, we needed to play all those games because we needed the money", then it isn't good enough. 

The key to mitigating risk is to identify and properly quantify the risk in the first place.

It is fine to suggest clubs shouldn't have been asking players to take contact in training or not play 3 games in 8 days but did the clubs know that these things were more likely to lead to brain damage and the onset of degenerative conditions earlier in life for these players?

If the answer is yes, the clubs did know about the evidence for brain injury and continued to play the players and did not adapt training regimes then yes, there is a case to answer.  If the answer is no, then how were they supposed to address an issue that was unknown at the time.

We all knew that ex pro (and even ex amateur players like me) would suffer knee and joint pain later in life, we had seen the evidence for ourselves.  But in our 20's we felt indestructible and played anyway.  But did we know about the possibility of long term brain injury.  I didn't.  Did the clubs?

There are two parts to this.  Based on what we now know about impact sports, are we doing enough as a sport today to mitigate the risk and protect players at all levels.  As the effects are very well known, this is an absolute must and any governing body that doesn't take this seriously deserves what is coming to them.

But can we judge the people in charge in the 80's, 90's and even early 2000's in the same way when the effects were less known.  Judging people from previous decades based on what has become known relatively recently seems inherently unfair to me.

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"The history of the world is the history of the triumph of the heartless over the mindless." — Sir Humphrey Appleby.

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1 hour ago, whatmichaelsays said:

There is currently a group of players making the argument against this legal claim saying "I knew the risks and RL has been good to me",

They should probably stop saying that if they want the case to fail. The whole defence will be either that the risks weren't understood or that the RFL were following the best practice in mitigating those risks.

An army of players going, "Well, we all knew about it but we played anyway" isn't going to help.

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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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13 hours ago, RayCee said:

I don’t it has to go that far to achieve a reasonable balance between care and entertainment. The collisions before a rotating bench and ten metre defensive lines were far less yet the game was still recognisable. Rules could be progressively changed yet still retain the essence of what makes the game appealing. Even a shorter season would allow more recovery time but like everything in this world today, money dominates every decision.

That wasn’t just the rules though players were on the whole mostly semi pro. Which also has an effect on collision and more importantly how long players can keep up the intensity. 

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46 minutes ago, gingerjon said:

They should probably stop saying that if they want the case to fail. The whole defence will be either that the risks weren't understood or that the RFL were following the best practice in mitigating those risks.

An army of players going, "Well, we all knew about it but we played anyway" isn't going to help.

It is extremely distasteful, I find. And pretty dumb. 

This attitude of 'I knew the risks' is nonsense - plenty of people didn't know the risks and would expect the professional environment they worked in to support them with the best medical advice and processes around. Hopefully that is what happened here, but that will be decided by the experts, and the players have every right to challenge that if they don't feel it was the case. 

We should stop listening to loudmouths like Mathers. 

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1 hour ago, Dunbar said:

 

But can we judge the people in charge in the 80's, 90's and even early 2000's in the same way when the effects were less known.  Judging people from previous decades based on what has become known relatively recently seems inherently unfair to me.

I agree with this part. It is possible to review whether processes were followed in the era that these players played in, and that's what I would expect to happen.

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1 hour ago, Dunbar said:

The key to mitigating risk is to identify and properly quantify the risk in the first place.

It is fine to suggest clubs shouldn't have been asking players to take contact in training or not play 3 games in 8 days but did the clubs know that these things were more likely to lead to brain damage and the onset of degenerative conditions earlier in life for these players?

If the answer is yes, the clubs did know about the evidence for brain injury and continued to play the players and did not adapt training regimes then yes, there is a case to answer.  If the answer is no, then how were they supposed to address an issue that was unknown at the time.

We all knew that ex pro (and even ex amateur players like me) would suffer knee and joint pain later in life, we had seen the evidence for ourselves.  But in our 20's we felt indestructible and played anyway.  But did we know about the possibility of long term brain injury.  I didn't.  Did the clubs?

There are two parts to this.  Based on what we now know about impact sports, are we doing enough as a sport today to mitigate the risk and protect players at all levels.  As the effects are very well known, this is an absolute must and any governing body that doesn't take this seriously deserves what is coming to them.

But can we judge the people in charge in the 80's, 90's and even early 2000's in the same way when the effects were less known.  Judging people from previous decades based on what has become known relatively recently seems inherently unfair to me.

I agree that you can only use the evidence you have at the time to make an assessment on risk, but research into this issue didn't just start recently and if anything, the player workload has become even more intense.

During the COVID outbreak, we had clubs scrambling to fit as many fixtures as they could into the shortest possible window. We even had Gary Hetherington saying that he "doesn't want to hear any complaints about player welfare" when that schedule was announced, which is such a horrifying remark that it is probably exhibit A in this lawsuit. 

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1 hour ago, GUBRATS said:

Then we return to part time 

That's not an inevitably. The sport could use this as an opportunity to re-position itself as something that is safe to play and has broad appeal.

If this sport can only be profitable by treating it's talent like circus freaks, is it really a sport we should be championing?

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12 minutes ago, whatmichaelsays said:

I agree that you can only use the evidence you have at the time to make an assessment on risk, but research into this issue didn't just start recently and if anything, the player workload has become even more intense.

During the COVID outbreak, we had clubs scrambling to fit as many fixtures as they could into the shortest possible window. We even had Gary Hetherington saying that he "doesn't want to hear any complaints about player welfare" when that schedule was announced, which is such a horrifying remark that it is probably exhibit A in this lawsuit. 

Apart from 3 games for Barrow in 2014, Goulding last played professionally in 2005.  I am not sure that we can find evidence of the cumulative effect of repetitive subconcussive collisions on the structural and functional integrity of the brain from 16 years ago.

If we can, then I stand corrected.

 

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51 minutes ago, Dave T said:

I wonder if at any stage some people will regret boasting that RL tackles are similar to car crashes. 

I don't remember using that particular phrase but why should I regret describing Rugby League as a tough sport?

When I played in the 80's and 90's and throughout my time watching it, one of the most attractive parts for me is the physical element, the gladiatorial element - one team (and in particular one set of forwards) getting over the top of the over and winning the physical battle.  A part of that is the 'big hit'.  I was never a dirty player but I loved making a bit hit and I love watching them.

Now I know that these hits, even without concussions diagnosed, can cumulatively effect the functional integrity of the brain.  I didn't then.  So why should I regret it?

And here is the difficult part.  The physical intensity and the collisions and the attritional nature of Rugby League is still probably the part I like best.  Of course I enjoy the skills and the wingers diving one handed in the corner but at the heart of the game for me is still the gladiatorial element.  It is a tough sport and I am proud to have played it.  The key is can we keep the toughness while protecting the players from long term damage.  And I don't know the answer to that one.

"The history of the world is the history of the triumph of the heartless over the mindless." — Sir Humphrey Appleby.

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the issue with these claims as it stands (if successful), would see the end of all contact sports as how would the game get any insurance?

It might be the cynic in me, but this has all the trademarks of a solicitor testing the water for future claims against the RFL using high profile cases, which if successful would see a new scourge of online solicitors making unsolicited calls to all and sundry to persue claims on a no win no fee basis on the grounds that they may have some point set foot onto a sports pitch!

Where does it end, if my memory serves me right, McDonald and Goulding dished out quite a few high tackles during their career which did on occasion see them both receive bans and high tackles have always been illegal in the 40+ years I've been involved in the sport 

 

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9 minutes ago, Dunbar said:

I don't remember using that particular phrase but why should I regret describing Rugby League as a tough sport?

When I played in the 80's and 90's and throughout my time watching it, one of the most attractive parts for me is the physical element, the gladiatorial element - one team (and in particular one set of forwards) getting over the top of the over and winning the physical battle.  A part of that is the 'big hit'.  I was never a dirty player but I loved making a bit hit and I love watching them.

Now I know that these hits, even without concussions diagnosed, can cumulatively effect the functional integrity of the brain.  I didn't then.  So why should I regret it?

And here is the difficult part.  The physical intensity and the collisions and the attritional nature of Rugby League is still probably the part I like best.  Of course I enjoy the skills and the wingers diving one handed in the corner but at the heart of the game for me is still the gladiatorial element.  It is a tough sport and I am proud to have played it.  The key is can we keep the toughness while protecting the players from long term damage.  And I don't know the answer to that one.

I'm not sure why you are talking about this personally, particularly when you say you haven't used this description.

I am referring to the governing body, including marketing arms etc. highlighting how tough the game is, including things like the impact being similar to a car crash (that isn't a good thing), about how we don't have helmets like those soft NFL players and so on. 

We know RL is a tough game, we know it is full of big hits, but that doesn't mean we need to oversell the dangerous elements of the sport. 

Now I hope there are no examples of the governing body or clubs making these comparisons I refer to, I hope they were restricted to fans and media. 

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1 hour ago, Dunbar said:

Apart from 3 games for Barrow in 2014, Goulding last played professionally in 2005.  I am not sure that we can find evidence of the cumulative effect of repetitive subconcussive collisions on the structural and functional integrity of the brain from 16 years ago.

If we can, then I stand corrected.

 

  I think it has become more evident in the last 10 years.Until 2010 American wrestlers were allowed to hit opponents over the head with metal chairs and other heavy objects.The NFL investigated head trauma and the game has changed considerably in recent years and is a better spectator sport for the change.

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4 minutes ago, Dave T said:

I'm not sure why you are talking about this personally, particularly when you say you haven't used this description.

I am referring to the governing body, including marketing arms etc. highlighting how tough the game is, including things like the impact being similar to a car crash (that isn't a good thing), about how we don't have helmets like those soft NFL players and so on. 

We know RL is a tough game, we know it is full of big hits, but that doesn't mean we need to oversell the dangerous elements of the sport. 

Now I hope there are no examples of the governing body or clubs making these comparisons I refer to, I hope they were restricted to fans and media. 

Are you saying that the governing body did or didn't make these comparisons, your second and forth paragraphs seem a little contradictory. 

"The history of the world is the history of the triumph of the heartless over the mindless." — Sir Humphrey Appleby.

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40 minutes ago, Dunbar said:

Are you saying that the governing body did or didn't make these comparisons, your second and forth paragraphs seem a little contradictory. 

There has been a lot of talk about how tough the game is, including some things that are downright dangerous (the car crash example) - my question was around whether the governing body will ever regret presenting the game like this. I've been watching the game for 35 years, I can't recall whether some of these things have been official campaigns, or whether they have just been media pieces - I hope it is the latter. 

One of the stated aims of the report that made that claim was around making recommendations on collision monitoring. This point was discussed at length within the game, it would be interesting to review the governing bodies response to it as well as public reaction to it.

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19 minutes ago, Dave T said:

There has been a lot of talk about how tough the game is, including some things that are downright dangerous (the car crash example) - my question was around whether the governing body will ever regret presenting the game like this. I've been watching the game for 35 years, I can't recall whether some of these things have been official campaigns, or whether they have just been media pieces - I hope it is the latter. 

One of the stated aims of the report that made that claim was around making recommendations on collision monitoring. This point was discussed at length within the game, it would be interesting to review the governing bodies response to it as well as public reaction to it.

The point is that nobody should be called out and made to regret saying something that was said in good faith and wasn't wrong or deceptive based on the evidence available at the time.

I may think that think the car crash analogy was a little bit of a blunt instrument and crude but in itself there was nothing wrong with it.  It is a way of pointing out how tough the (legal) tackles were/are in Rugby League, something we all accept as it is game we have played and followed for decades.  It turns out now that those tackles were having degenerative effects that we are now only just becoming aware of.  Not the high tackles leading to concussion but every one of those legal tackles as well.  But if that wasn't known at the time then why should anyone regret saying it - they may not say it now but now we know more now.

If you are saying something on this forum today that in 20 years time is shown to be errant or that evidence suggests a different conclusion then I don't expect you to be called out for it as you made the statement in good faith based on what we know today. 

Rugby League is a tough sport and part of its public persona for the last 125 years has been how tough it is.  To suggest that we should regret stating that for all these years based on evidence available today just seems intellectually unfair.

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"The history of the world is the history of the triumph of the heartless over the mindless." — Sir Humphrey Appleby.

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12 minutes ago, Dave T said:

There has been a lot of talk about how tough the game is, including some things that are downright dangerous (the car crash example) - my question was around whether the governing body will ever regret presenting the game like this. I've been watching the game for 35 years, I can't recall whether some of these things have been official campaigns, or whether they have just been media pieces - I hope it is the latter. 

One of the stated aims of the report that made that claim was around making recommendations on collision monitoring. This point was discussed at length within the game, it would be interesting to review the governing bodies response to it as well as public reaction to it.

I don't particularly ever recall the RFL presenting the game like that. The collision aspect has certainly been talked up by commentators and pundits but I never recall the RFL doing so.

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3 minutes ago, Damien said:

I don't particularly ever recall the RFL presenting the game like that. The collision aspect has certainly been talked up by commentators and pundits but I never recall the RFL doing so.

I don't have a clear memory of what was done at the time and can't find any images on google but the RFL did, apparently, use the phrase, "A Man's Game for all the Family". I'd be interested in knowing what was used to support that slogan.

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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3 minutes ago, Dunbar said:

The point is that nobody should be called out and made to regret saying something that was said in good faith and wasn't wrong or deceptive based on the evidence available at the time.

I may think that think the car crash analogy was a little bit of a brunt instrument and crude but in itself there was nothing wrong with it.  It is a way of pointing out how tough the (legal) tackles were/are in Rugby League, something we all accept as it is game we have played and followed for decades.  It turns out now that those tackles were having degenerative effects that we are now only just becoming aware of.  Not the high tackles leading to concussion but every one of those legal tackles as well.  But if that wasn't known at the time then why should anyone regret saying it - they may not say it now but now we know more now.

If you are saying something on this forum today that in 20 years time is shown to be errant or that evidence suggests a different conclusion then I don't expect you to be called out for it as you made the statement in good faith based on what we know today. 

Rugby League is a tough sport and part of its public persona for the last 125 years has been how tough it is.  To suggest that we should regret stating that for all these years based on evidence available today just seems intellectually unfair.

I think you misunderstand the purpose of my point. The car crash point was discussed at length within the game - very recently - if it emerges that this kind of thing was known about, accepted, discussed and not really acted upon - then it makes it easier to create a case arguing that the culture within the game was not really one of player welfare. 

We know the game is tough - but a report stating that a tackle could have the same impact as a car crash should have sent alarm bells ringing within the RFL and those responsible for player welfare. Hopefully there are no examples of that ever being presented in a positive light within clubs or the governing body, and to go further it would be good if they have minuted discussions with outcomes of that. 

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10 minutes ago, Damien said:

I don't particularly ever recall the RFL presenting the game like that. The collision aspect has certainly been talked up by commentators and pundits but I never recall the RFL doing so.

I hope that is correct, but I do have something at the back of my mind where this was discussed with officials at the very least. Their responses would be interesting.

As per the discussions over the last couple of pages, this will come down to the RFL and clubs showing that they have been taking player welfare seriously - hopefully they have a robust set of actions that can demonstrate that - there are certainly many positives like the HIA changes, reduction in games, concussion protocols, shoulder charge ban, disciplinary for head contact etc. but things like the condensed Covid seasons and the many rules to speed up play can be challenging to explain.

Edited by Dave T
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  • John Drake changed the title to Concussion (Merged Threads)

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