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Concussion (Merged Threads)


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1 minute ago, Dave T said:

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. 

I was responding initially to your one line comment "I wonder if at any stage some people will regret boasting that RL tackles are similar to car crashes." and not the context that you have now applied.

So putting this behind us and focusing on the point in hand.

The measures that the game has introduced recently are all about identifying and managing head injury but repetitive contact is just as significant an issue and If the legal tackles in Rugby League are too forceful, how do we address this without fundamentally changing the nature of the game.

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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 minute ago, Dunbar said:

I was responding initially to your one line comment "I wonder if at any stage some people will regret boasting that RL tackles are similar to car crashes." and not the context that you have now applied.

So putting this behind us and focusing on the point in hand.

The measures that the game has introduced recently are all about identifying and managing head injury but repetitive contact is just as significant an issue and If the legal tackles in Rugby League are too forceful, how do we address this without fundamentally changing the nature of the game.

To address the initial point - it still stands. I think 'the game' did celebrate this point - it was widely discussed in the media, and with the pundits that Sky have we know how that played out. I do have a nagging belief that this was discussed with the RFL and or SLE as part of these discussions at the time - i can't find anything now, so hopefully I'm mistaken or it was dealt with appropriately. 

The player welfare discussion overall is interesting - look at the furore in Oz when they started binning and sending off players mid-year. Sure there may be a point about not starting mid-year - but experts (including coaches) were falling over themselves to justify foul play - they won as the game went back to normal and players can hit a player in the head and carry on. Coaches even now complain about the binning of players hitting halves who have just passed the ball. 

Plenty of these incidents may appear a bit 'soft' compared to what has gone before, but I think that is the point, we will need to adapt to allow the game to continue. There are good conversations to be had around 10m line, number of subs, game caps per year, tackle height limits, punishments and bans, concussion protocols. I think we all need to be open to change. 

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On 27/10/2021 at 09:47, Death to the Rah Rah's said:

as awful as this is, and I feel genuinely sorry for Bobby or anyone else who contracts dementia but how does anyone prove this is as a result of playing rugby league, or any sport for that matter and not just back luck!

What about the millions of ex-football, RU and RL players worldwide who haven't had any adverse effects of playing sport.

This is an interesting viewpoint, and it brings to mind the number of famous old players who don't seem to have had the same effects suffered by such sportsmen like Jeff Astle in soccer or Stevie Ward in Rugby League. The consumption of alcohol also has a degenerative effect on the brain as has been noted, do people sue the breweries? How do we diagnose which is to blame in what proportion?

This issue has been around for a great number of years now Astle was 54 when he died in 2004 and it has taken the sport of soccer 16 years to acknowledge the risk, and no time at all to ignore it and carry on as usual. Same for Rugby League to an extent albeit there is the head knock "protocol" that is something,  but it doesn't doesn't actually stop the problem in any way. It only stops a player getting a second bashing in the same match....

We will have to see how any court case goes but a personal choice to engage in a physical sport that can even cause death as happened to Leeds Chris Sanderson 44 years ago, has to be considered here. I don't doubt both codes must have some sort of workable precautions within reason, but beyond that the risk will probably be down to the individual.

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Just now, steve oates said:

it has taken the sport of soccer 16 years to acknowledge the risk, and no time at all to ignore it and carry on as usual

Aside from the establishment of a fund to support dementia sufferers (reported today), the reduction of heading in training, the removal of heading from junior levels, technology to make the balls lighter, and ongoing experiments into whether reduction/removal of heading altogether should be considered (up to and including test games and competitions without heading).

But, yeah, nothing. They've just carried on.

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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2 minutes ago, gingerjon said:

Aside from.................

But, yeah, nothing. They've just carried on.

Indeed they have, every match I see since the issue surfaced contains the same heading of the same balls. The list they gave you may look impressive, but all the way through match of the day you will see them carrying on......

How does the "lighter ball" work by the way? Is it some sort of balloon?

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1 minute ago, steve oates said:

How does the "lighter ball" work by the way? Is it some sort of balloon?

Pick up a ball like Astle would have headed and now pick up a match ball from today.

If you can't tell the difference then, frankly, I'd go straight to a doctor and get yourself checked out.

And, yes, given that one of the issues raised by Astle's family was his heading from a young age and in training drills, their removal does make a difference.

As does putting aside money to pay for dementia care.

It's pretty much the opposite of the head in the sand approached advocated by fatalists on here.

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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1 hour ago, Chris22 said:

https://discover.ticketmaster.co.uk/sport/is-rugby-league-the-toughest-sport-in-the-world-1384/

For what it's worth, looks like Warrington conducted some research comparing tackle impact to car crashes.

This is my point.  In 2013 an article like this was based on (and I quote) "Our primary focus is to get the players conditioned to take contact"

The conditioning staff were ensuring that the players were ready to make and take these collisions without injury.  In fact, the focus (later in the same paragraph "was "making sure the players are more physical and powerful than their opponent".

This was only 8 years ago and yet there was no concern that these collisions were having a detrimental effect on the brain, only that the players needed to be physically prepared to endure the collisions.  If there was no awareness of a problem, we shouldn't blame people for not mitigating against it.

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

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15 minutes ago, Dunbar said:

This was only 8 years ago and yet there was no concern that these collisions were having a detrimental effect on the brain, only that the players needed to be physically prepared to endure the collisions.  If there was no awareness of a problem, we shouldn't blame people for not mitigating against it.

You can find examples of concussion and concussion protocols based on (imperfect but evolving) understanding of the impact of repeated mild trauma starting from around 1990. There are examples of concerns before then but nothing (that I, with my layman's understanding, can see) gets proper medical grounding.

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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1 minute ago, gingerjon said:

You can find examples of concussion and concussion protocols based on (imperfect but evolving) understanding of the impact of repeated mild trauma starting from around 1990. There are examples of concerns before then but nothing (that I, with my layman's understanding, can see) gets proper medical grounding.

Thanks.  Can you link to a few as I was having a good look for papers on the cumulative effect of repetitive subconcussive collisions this afternoon and the earliest I could find was circa 2015. 

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

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2 minutes ago, gingerjon said:

You can find examples of concussion and concussion protocols based on (imperfect but evolving) understanding of the impact of repeated mild trauma starting from around 1990. There are examples of concerns before then but nothing (that I, with my layman's understanding, can see) gets proper medical grounding.

There is stuff out there. A young physio I know did her masters on sports head injury rehab.... so whilst the research is ongoing and there is scope for much more, there is some studies into collision injuries. I would have thought a lot of it may be US based.

I'll have a shufty tomorrow see what I can find. 

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2 minutes ago, Dunbar said:

Thanks.  Can you link to a few as I was having a good look for papers on the cumulative effect of repetitive subconcussive collisions this afternoon and the earliest I could find was circa 2015. 

Bear with, I've just shut my tabs down ...

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:

Thanks.  Can you link to a few as I was having a good look for papers on the cumulative effect of repetitive subconcussive collisions this afternoon and the earliest I could find was circa 2015. 

This seems to be a good starting point: (PDF) History of neuropsychological study of sport-related concussion (researchgate.net) - although from a very American slant.

I think the key date, and why the RFL will be fine (probably), is 2005 when it was proven that CTE was a thing that was affecting non boxers. Before then it seems to be mostly conjecture and best understandings.

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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These ex-players were employees. Like miners who suffered from lung disease and workers who suffered from asbestosis. The RFL insurers will settle like the NFL insurers did over concussions and will probably do so over next 20 years.The fund stands at 1billion dollars now. 

We can't turn back the clock. But the game will have to change. For pro players it might mean an annual brain scan, any players suffering a head knock being removed from play and not returning on that game and maybe a mandatory period off after, having additional "head injury only" subs to cover this (NRL have a head bin sub already), one contact session a week (NFL) but most of all they've got to eradicate tackles above the shoulder like RU has done. I ref RU at a junior level and when it came in, I thought it was a bit over the top. But after a couple of seasons, players adjust and no players are asking to go back to the old rules. 

There is no downside to stamping out head tackles and grapple tackles. Any pro player who can't learn how to tackle below the neck will be finding another job. And "big hits" might become reckless tackles and be outlawed. No, I don't know how, but trying to injure an opponent's brain by hitting him so hard it rattles his brain inside his skull doesn't seem like a good idea to either party. I don't applaud big hits any more, I just think "hope they don't suffer any brain damage".

It doesn't mean the end of the game - it hasn't happened in boxing - but the game has to take every reasonable measure to protect its players. And as a game we shouldn't be encouraging players -and they're young people - to unnecessarily risk brain injuries for our entertainment.

There will always be some risk as it's a contact sport, but there's plenty of measures like those above which could be put in place.

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It seems,"The group is represented by Richard Boardman of Rylands Law, the firm which has also launched an action on behalf of ex-rugby union players against World Rugby, the Rugby Football Union and the Welsh Rugby Union."

Whilst the issue is clearly important, especially if it gets to court, the courts judge a causal link, balance of probabilities etc, is it possible that the ambulance chasers have been soliciting?

 

“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.”
 Friedrich Nietzsche

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On 27/10/2021 at 09:47, Death to the Rah Rah's said:

as awful as this is, and I feel genuinely sorry for Bobby or anyone else who contracts dementia but how does anyone prove this is as a result of playing rugby league, or any sport for that matter and not just back luck!

What about the millions of ex-football, RU and RL players worldwide who haven't had any adverse effects of playing sport.

If claims like this are successful then that's the end of all contact sport as the usual 'no win no fee' floodgates will open and every person who has ever played sport will be lodging claims against the governing body, BARLA, or worse still community clubs and their officials

This is one of several reasons why I would question the potential merits of such a case.

The NFL case is a bit of a red herring as it is a very different legal system in the U.S.

It would take an awful lot for such a case to be successful here, not to mention a sizeable budget to fund the expert witnesses that would be needed. Are these ex-players crowd funding because I'd be surprised if they could afford such litigation otherwise?

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My brother who now lives in Oz has just finished going through the Australian system for a work related injury , he fell of a pair of steps , hurt neck and head .

He played rugby from a young age up to pro level . 

Specialist picked up 3 areas in brain that scans had show up as having a different look to them .

Asked i8f brother had played rugby .

He could not say if the 3 areas are showing due to a  fall , playing rugby or anything else he had done previously .

Not going to be easy to prove Rugby League is the cause .

   

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22 minutes ago, Ray Cashmere said:

This is one of several reasons why I would question the potential merits of such a case.

The NFL case is a bit of a red herring as it is a very different legal system in the U.S.

It would take an awful lot for such a case to be successful here, not to mention a sizeable budget to fund the expert witnesses that would be needed. Are these ex-players crowd funding because I'd be surprised if they could afford such litigation otherwise?

It will probably not reach the courts. The insurers will have the choice of settling or risk as you say a very expensive court case (2 sets of legal costs) and a large settlement. There's investment funds which fund class actions (in return for % of damages) the solicitors might be taking no win no fee approach and the players might have to part fund or a combination 

With a combined RU/RL ex-players suit and next to no defence "you didn't think that a player suffering repeated blows to the head and concussions would have any effect on his brain?" and potentially tens if not hundreds of millions in possible compensation, then they wouldn't have taken it this far if they didn't think they've a very good chance.

All they have to prove is that a cohort of ex-players in their 40s/50s has a higher % of dementia against a same cohort of non-players and do some brain scans to show the damage and that's pretty much game over.

Think they'd be no shortage of brain experts happy to state that repeated concussions and blows to the head can contribute to dementia. I doubt they'll find many experts to would testify that repeated blows to the head has no effect on the brain.

The RFL insurers will have re-insured the risk, so some of their losses will be offset. 

They can negotiate a settlement (known amount) or fight it and risk millions in legal costs plus an unknown amount of damages which could be even higher (unknown amount but almost certain to be higher because of costs). 

 

Edited by Wakefield Ram
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9 minutes ago, henage said:

My brother who now lives in Oz has just finished going through the Australian system for a work related injury , he fell of a pair of steps , hurt neck and head .

He played rugby from a young age up to pro level . 

Specialist picked up 3 areas in brain that scans had show up as having a different look to them .

Asked i8f brother had played rugby .

He could not say if the 3 areas are showing due to a  fall , playing rugby or anything else he had done previously .

Not going to be easy to prove Rugby League is the cause .

   

Firstly sorry to hear about your brother, hope he's doing okay.

In one case you're right it's hard to prove, but when you have a large number of people it is easier.

You take the incidence of dementia in people in 40s who played pro RL and incidence on a similar group who didn't. 

Making some numbers up here but say non-players in 40s, dementia affects 1 in 100 and ex-players it's 5 in 100, then you start to prove a higher risk of dementia. You can say players drank more but they were fitter etc.. but I suspect the solicitors will have easily enough to win, so the insurers will settle.

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15 hours ago, DC77 said:

RU is an extremely dangerous sport, arguably more so than RL. While RU has a lower frequency of impacts than RL, the impacts themselves are bigger. An 18 stone centre (who previously would have weighted 12 to 13 stone) hitting you is the equivalent of a mini car crash. And the impact doesn’t have to be direct to the head to do damage (most impacts are not to the head). The result of an upper body collision (a common impact) can be whiplash, ie. rapid brain movement. You often see a player’s head jerk forward when hit on the body. CTE was defined in the BBC source as:

CTE can develop when the brain is subjected to numerous small blows or rapid movements - sometimes known as sub-concussions

Agree it's not just head tackles, it's all impacts. Wouldn't say RU is any more dangerous, a lot of their collisions are at a shorter distance (no 10m rule, back foot of the breakdown) I'd say it's on a par with RL.

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12 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.

 

Problems you would wish the game to avoid, clearly. An issue you can also "discuss" on the cross-code forum

“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.”
 Friedrich Nietzsche

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1 hour ago, JohnM said:

It seems,"The group is represented by Richard Boardman of Rylands Law, the firm which has also launched an action on behalf of ex-rugby union players against World Rugby, the Rugby Football Union and the Welsh Rugby Union."

Whilst the issue is clearly important, especially if it gets to court, the courts judge a causal link, balance of probabilities etc, is it possible that the ambulance chasers have been soliciting?

 

Not possible, almost certainly nailed on. The more ex-players they find with dementia the more money they'll make.

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44 minutes ago, Wakefield Ram said:

It will probably not reach the courts. The insurers will have the choice of settling or risk as you say a very expensive court case (2 sets of legal costs) and a large settlement. There's investment funds which fund class actions (in return for % of damages) the solicitors might be taking no win no fee approach and the players might have to part fund or a combination 

With a combined RU/RL ex-players suit and next to no defence "you didn't think that a player suffering repeated blows to the head and concussions would have any effect on his brain?" and potentially tens if not hundreds of millions in possible compensation, then they wouldn't have taken it this far if they didn't think they've a very good chance.

All they have to prove is that a cohort of ex-players in their 40s/50s has a higher % of dementia against a same cohort of non-players and do some brain scans to show the damage and that's pretty much game over.

Think they'd be no shortage of brain experts happy to state that repeated concussions and blows to the head can contribute to dementia. I doubt they'll find many experts to would testify that repeated blows to the head has no effect on the brain.

The RFL insurers will have re-insured the risk, so some of their losses will be offset. 

They can negotiate a settlement (known amount) or fight it and risk millions in legal costs plus an unknown amount of damages which could be even higher (unknown amount but almost certain to be higher because of costs). 

You aren't half painting an extreme picture and it is all a damn site more complicated than you are making out. The burden of proof will be far higher than what you cite.

There will also be no combined RL/RU suit. They are different games with different protocols and governing bodies that have taken different actions.

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3 minutes ago, Damien said:

You aren't half painting an extreme picture and it is all a damn site more complicated than you are making out. The burden of proof will be far higher than what you cite.

There will also be no combined RL/RU suit. They are different games with different protocols and governing bodies that have taken different actions.

Yes it will be more complex, but they'll be plenty of information they can share across the codes. Well let's hope I'm completely wrong, the ex-players will die prematurely and their families get nothing. 

But personally I wouldn't bet a penny on it.

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Bobbing Goulding's interview was a car crash.

He was complaining about not seeing a doctor even he had just been discharged by Huddersfield Infirmary. Surely its up to the doctor to issue a sick note. As far as the club was concerned he was signed off fit by a doctor.

He then admitted he said he was ok to play after being asked by the club. Sorry but if you do not tell your employers your symptoms then how can they be held responsible they are not mind readers.

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

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