Rugby Injuries

  laurie53 08:56 18 Oct 2008

The thread is prompted by the recent tragic suicide of a guy who was paralysed in a rugby scrum collapse.

I played rugby for many years, and was in many such collapses (and have been sent off for causing them!), but never recall any serious or lasting injury.

So what is it about the modern game that makes such injuries much more common, and if something has changed, is it not possible to change back?

  Taff™ 10:12 18 Oct 2008

I have played rugby and refereed for the past 30 years and in my view the increase in injuries is probably proportional to the number of players, particularly in Youth Rugby, now playing the game. In the Midlands there are many clubs that put out two or three senior teams on a Saturday but on a Sunday have 200 kids playing between the ages of 9 - 18. A fantastic sight to see.

Safety is paramount in the game, particularly in the scrums where if you recall last January the Laws were changed worldwide to include the "Crouch, Touch, Pause, Engage" sequence when forming the scrums to reduce the impact of the engagement. Similarly the numbers in the scrums have to be more equal, at Youth level no side can push more than 1.5 metres and at every level there must be trained players in the front row positions - otherwise passive scrums.

I haven`t seen any suggestion that the injury was anything other than a tragic accident. I`m confident that all those in the sport are aware of the safety issues involved in all aspects of Rugby. In other contact sports there are similar issues, there are as you might expect more broken limbs in soccer.

I don`t think we can change back. Rugby has followed the best worldwide medical advice in modifying the Laws and training regimes for the players safety. Coaches at all levels have to be trained and soon they will have to be registered and re-trained on a regular basis. Long gone are the days when a new player was put into the front row on the basis that he had the build of a prop forward and learnt as he went along.

  laurie53 10:25 18 Oct 2008

"Long gone are the days when a new player was put into the front row on the basis that he had the build of a prop forward and learnt as he went along."

That's exactly how I got to be a hooker!

  DrScott 11:39 18 Oct 2008

I've never been convinced that the rather crushing impact on engagement of the scrum is particularly safe.

In other similar sports (though obscure), scrums engage without slamming into each other, and can only push once everyone is locked in place.

I've seen a few spinal injuries from rugby over the last few years. They are not that common, but are particularly devastating as they tend to be high cervical fracture dislocations.

  Forum Editor 17:25 18 Oct 2008

and it's hardly surprising that sometimes injuries of this nature occur.

At one time in my life, when I was working quite a lot in Newport in South Wales I knew Charlie Faulkner pretty well - we would meet up for a drink and a chat quite regularly - and I was always impressed by the sheer size of the man. I once had a meal with Charlie and Bobby Windsor, when they were both in the Pontypool front row, and there was hardly enough room for the three of us in the taxi going to the restaurant.

  laurie53 19:39 18 Oct 2008

I accept the points made, but the question I am making is that everyone is aware of an increase in this type of injury of the last forty years or so, so what is the reason for it?

The increase in serious lower limb injuries is understandable in soccer since the game seems to be much faster and more fluid, and the players are at a higher peak of fitness.

It's not just numbers. I was brought up in 40s/50s Wales where virtually every male between 7 and 17 played rugby at least once a week and I never remember a single case of a neck injury.

It's not just size, some of the top players then (officially amateurs) worked down a pit or in an ironworks five and half days a week, and were pretty powerful blokes. I've see Dr Jack Mathews leave five big blokes needing the trainer on his way to the goal line (then turning back and going to treat them!) but very few neck injuries.

Though I'm no longer familiar with the game I'm sure that there must have been some sort of change to the scrimmaging rules, perhaps in the binding, which has made such injuries more likely.

  Condom 21:16 18 Oct 2008

I really don't know if there are any national or international statistics kept about this sort of injury.
I know the West Midlands Spinal Injuries Unit has always had a few such injuries caused by Rugby over many years but there are also just as many similar injuries caused by people diving into the sea and hitting rocks or falling down mountains. Even horse racing and horse jumping has it's fair share of para or tetraplegics following accidents.
Support is crucial and many who suffer this type of injury can lead positive lives as witnessed at the recent Olympic Games.
I just hope that this young lad was given all the support and counselling he needed during this traumatic time in his life.
However now is not the time for newspapers and the TV to be hounding the family as I am sure they have more than enough to deal with already.

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