“Rugby is safer than ever” – a response to calls to ban tackling in school rugby

Fresh calls from Prof Allyson Pollock have been released to ban tackling from school rugby. She claims that the collision nature of rugby coupled with the drive to increase participation at schools, puts children at risk of both long and short-term consequences from injuries.

Dr Sam Barke, Medical Director of Return2Play, the player welfare specialists, has had this to say about Pollock’s comments:

“Improving the safety of sport is high on the agenda for all. Sport does carry risks, but then so do a lot of activities. In the schools that Return2Play works with, children under the age of 13 were more likely to be concussed in the playground than on the sports field. Risks can be reduced by coaching the correct techniques and managing injuries appropriately if they do occur. Radical changes to the very nature of the game, without clear evidence, is not the way forward.

“Rugby, as with many sports where an element of contact is part of the game, not only promotes physical fitness – something vital in an age of growing childhood inactivity and rising obesity rates – but also discipline, respect, leadership and team work. Qualities which are transferable to the classroom and into later life.

“Governing bodies, including the Rugby Football Union, take player welfare extremely seriously and regularly make improvements to enhance safety. Emerging organisations, such as us at Return2Play, ensure that amateur players can access the best care if injuries do occur. I firmly believe that players are actually safer than ever.”

Return2Play provides an online platform which helps you safely and easily manage injuries.

We have taken advances learnt in professional sport to the grassroots level, ensuring the safety of all players and easing the administrative burden of providing the highest standards of care.

You can find out more about what we do by visiting our website.

Let us know your thoughts on the tackling debate in the comment section below.

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We are a sports medicine consultancy which advises organisations on how to provide the highest standards of care to their players and provides solutions to enable these standards to be achieved.


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