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Rugby World Cup 2015: Calls for changes to player safety


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Rugby World Cup 2015: Calls for changes to player safety

The 100-year-old whistle has been blown to mark the start of the first game; the Rugby World Cup 2015 is officially in full swing across Britain.

So far, as of 2pm on the 25th of September- attendance figures are at 642,397, there’s been a total of 601 points scored- made up of 67 tries, 49 conversions and 56 penalties. It’s fair to say it’s been an exciting first week of sporting action!

We are officially in full World Cup spirit here, with talks of tackles, tries, supporter camaraderie and shock performances everywhere you turn, its difficult not to get drawn in by the excitement.

One particular conversation that’s been discussed in quite some detail is player injury during the game. Earlier this week BBC Panorama reported on the rules surrounding tackling in rugby. Shockingly, the number of players suffering concussion during a rugby match has doubled in five years, with the number of reported concussions in English rugby seeing a major increase of 59% between 2013 and 2014.

For the BBC Panorama report, Rugby and the Brain – Tackling the Truth, medical experts from World Rugby, the international governing body of rugby union, were interviewed and said that changes needed to be made in order to make the game safer for everyone involved.

Sadly, concussion can be fatal and, Peter Robison, who was also interviewed as part of the report, sadly lost his son following a brain injury playing rugby. World Rugby’s chief medical officer, Martin Raferty has said the tackle would most likely be the focus in order to make the game safer:

“Player welfare is about identifying what the risk is and then bringing about change.

“There’s no doubt that the biggest area that we know where concussion is going to occur is in the tackle, so that will help us to look at the tackle and see what we can do to make it safer.”

Symptoms of concussion include dizziness, nausea, and memory loss. In some cases symptoms can persist causing depression and personality change lasting weeks, or sometimes months; this is known as post-concussion syndrome.

It’s inevitable when suffering any of the above symptoms that they are likely to affect your rugby career and overall well-being. Sadly for many players this sparks the end of their careers, with Leinster’s Kevin McLaughlin becoming the latest professional to retire from the sport due to concussion.

McLaughlin’s announcement comes soon after former Wales flanker Jonathan Thomas ended his playing career after being diagnosed with epilepsy, brought on by repetitive brain injury.

As part of the intense physicality of the sport, players often receive hard tackles resulting in serious head knocks. All of which can lead to brain injuries, ultimately having devastating impacts on a player’s health.

Thankfully actions are being taken by World Rugby, with discussions amongst medical experts on how to reduce the number of injuries, including concussion and brain injuries.

Regardless of how you suffer an injury, the outcome can sometimes be devastating, and in some serious cases, mark the end of your career. This alone is a difficult and life-changing factor to get to grips with, aside from the personal injuries you are also faced with.

This can be made all the more distressing when you are suffering from a personal injury that was not your fault. At Sheldon Davidson Solicitors we believe that nobody should have to suffer due to the carelessness and negligence of somebody else.

If you have unfortunately been placed in a situation like this, it is important that you speak to professional lawyers who can not only empathise with your situation, but also potentially seek justice on your behalf.

The biggest game so far is almost upon us as we see England V Wales kick off at 8pm tomorrow evening. If you’re there and watching we hope you enjoy a fantastic evening of sport.

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