Everyone realises just how hard hitting rugby can be. It’s also common knowledge that over recent years the Game has become tougher, much faster with players boasting much bigger builds than in days of yore. The result has seen a rise in injuries which is one of the reasons why its so important for players to maintain levels of fitness throughout a season.
However, no matter how fit a player happens to be, avoiding a serious knock to the head is pretty hard in such a high impact sport which all too often results in players suffering some degree of concussion. The question that’s being hotly debated at the present time, is how players should be treated when they do get a knock to the head and whether or not, they should be allowed to rejoin a game some five minutes after having been assessed by a doctor?
Under the new IRB regulations, namely the PSCA, this is, indeed the case and it’s got quite a few enthusiasts of the game worried including the likes of Barry O’Driscoll, uncle of Irish legend Brian O’Driscoll, who thinks the initiative puts players in even more danger in what is generally accepted as being an already “dangerous impact” sport.
The Divide Continues
It would seem the consensus of opinion is pretty split as to whether the new initiative may put players more at risk or not. Could it even prove fatal or whether the stats show the opposite to be true? It would also be fair to say a heated debate may well go on for some time to come.
With names like Doctor O’Driscoll very much against, and he is after all a well respected expert in these matters, having sat on the IRB’s medical committee and who, incidentally, has since retired as a protest against the initiative, it will be interesting to see who joins him on his side of the fence. It would also be very interesting to hear just what the players themselves think of the initiative?
To Play or Not to Play
With this said, if like Geoff Parling, a player who was recently pulled out of a match against Australia because he’d suffered concussion (again), players may well still be “desperate to play” even though they have blurred vision, feel dizzy, have a headache and would hate having to watch the rest of a game from the stands even though it would be in their best interests to do so
It goes without saying that during the big “Games” or any others, players welfare has to be put before anything else, and when it comes to kids who play at school level, it’s of paramount importance that coaches and doctors understand the implications of not recognising when a young player may be suffering from concussion and that they should, therefore, always err on the side of caution.