There has been a big drive in the UK for school rugby to ban all forms of tackling and for the game to be reduced to touch rugby for players under the age of 18.
Over 70 health experts, doctors and academics are behind the campaign to ban tackling in school rugby in order to protect young players from concussion.
This stance would almost ruin the game as we know it, as kids will develop an affinity and love of other sports during this time. Very few would then progress to a full contact version if there was no exposure to the realities of the game when younger.
But even from a followers perspective, if you don't grow up with the game, you are unlikely to become a supporter and a fan later in life. A ban over time, if not instantly, would kill the sport in the UK.
Is concussion a serious problem? If it is, could the game be in serious risk? Heath and safety is a significant issue in New Zealand, both from a recreational and business perspective. The number 8 wire, or "give it a go" attitude is trying to be replaced by prudent, considered actions that address risk and ensures people are accountable. But with accountability, comes increased costs. Or if costs are prohibitive, those risky activities are simply banned.
Is rugby a risky activity? What further steps will be put in place to ensure a safe (or a managed risk) environment for kids. What does this look like? Doctors on the sideline, no tackling ... what are the costs? Who pays? Will Colleges need to fund ambulances at every level of the game?
Or is this a case of the political far left taking the fun out of everything ... there are risks, sure, but they are known.... lets move on and have some fun. As the saying goes, "playing with sticks is fun, until someone loses an eye ... then it is fun playing pirates!"
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