The Rugby Football Union (RFU) is deeply saddened to hear the brave personal accounts from former players and their families about their health. The RFU applauds them for coming forward to tell their stories.
World Rugby, the RFU and Welsh Rugby Union have received a letter of claim from solicitors representing certain players and will now take time to consider its contents. It is important to note that this is likely to be a lengthy detailed process and will not distract from our purpose of supporting the game of rugby in England.
Rugby is a contact sport and while there is an element of risk to playing any sport, the RFU takes player welfare extremely seriously. As a result of scientific knowledge improving rugby has been able to develop its approach to concussion surveillance, education, management and prevention across the whole game.
We have implemented player, coach and referee training and best practice protocols across the game and rugby’s approach to head injury assessments and concussion protocols has led to many other team sports adopting our guidance.
The professional game is different to the community adult and age-group games and RFU Age Grade rules allow players to learn rugby basics and skills incrementally with contact gradually introduced. The graduation from tag to contact rugby encourages waist height tackles which is the safest way for children to learn. Playing rugby also provides significant physical and mental health benefits.
The care and focus on concussion education, recognition and management for players is the best that it has ever been, and we will continue to use evidence and research to keep improving.
The RFU has a wide range of Rugbysafe resources and more can be read about them here. Activate is the RFU’s primary injury prevention programme for all injuries including concussion. Exercises focus on three areas: General movement control, Pre-activation and Functional Conditioning. Research has shown that developing a player’s ability in these areas has the potential to reduce the risk of injury including concussion significantly.
Player welfare is our top priority, and we welcome all constructive opinions regarding the safety, shape or attractiveness of the game. The majority of the proposed 15 measures being discussed already form part of the work rugby is doing to make the game safer.
We will continue to work with World Rugby, PRL, the RPA and external academic institutions to collaborate, commission and invest in research to keep evolving our approach.
The original article can be found here.