Do the risks of serious injury outweigh the positives in rugby?
Rugby is a fast-moving and high-intensity team sport. Although historically dominated by males, the sport is gaining popularity among females. It has been known that it is a dangerous sport but do the positives of playing rugby outweigh the negatives of injury?( http://physioworks.com.au/Injuries-Conditions/Activities/rugby-union-injuries by Jarred Edwards) this matter has become more and more common in the game of rugby is it just because players are getting stronger and faster? Or are the rugby union doing something wrong to do with injuries. Injuries happen at all ages in rugby; from professional international players to middle school kids playing rugby against other schools, so it is just part of the game. However, it is becoming increasingly more dangerous to all ages.
Section 1 The negatives of rugby
Injuries are frequent – the probability of a player being injured in a season can be as high as 90% in some studies, depending on the definition used. The majority of injuries, at least 75%, occur during contact or collision, such as the tackle and the scrum. (By Professor Allyson Pollock For The Conversation Published: 12:13, 8 October 2015 | Updated: 16:52, 9 February 2016 http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3264739/Rugby-dangerous-not-doing-protect-kids-injury-Leading-expert-warns-young-players-risk-depression-memory-loss-speech-problems.html#ixzz53JRhne00)
It has been found that concussions have been an uprising serious injury, the RFU has been battling this to reduce the amount of injury, how they can treat it and also how they can prevent it. The concussions in English rugby are at an all-time high (By Julian Bennetts 18 January 2017 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/rugby-union/2017/01/18/concussion-levels-english-rugby-reach-record-high-rfu-now-looks/ ), World Rugby introduced new law directives at the start of the year in a bid to encourage players to tackle lower, but Dr Simon Kemp believes that may still leave the tackler vulnerable to head injuries, after the RFU’s annual injury audit revealed that concussion now accounts for a quarter of all injuries – up from 17 per cent the year before. The 2015-16 season review also showed that concussion comprised 20 per cent of injuries to the ball-carrier and 47 per cent of injuries to the tackler. Kemp said rugby’s priority was to make the game safer for the tackler. (By Julian Bennetts 18th January 2017 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/rugby-union/2017/01/18/concussion-levels-english-rugby-reach-record-high-rfu-now-looks/ )
-Concussion in children
Concussions are seeming to get more and more common in rugby in all age types. Concussions happen when there is an impact to the head that causes the nerves and structures in the brain to alter, this has the effect that the messages aren’t send around the brain in the correct way. There has been recent reports highlighting a potential link between head injuries and an increased risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease later during life, saying it is the government’s duty to “protect children from risks of injury and to ensure safety of children” says Prof Pollock (26th September 2017 http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/41399553)
Two thirds of all concussions occur during the tackle, with one head injuries or one concussion per match in the local games, and concussion is very common in children’s games. Traumatic and repetitive concussion or brain injury can cause long lasting affects and at a child’s age, they are still growing and in rugby it is a routine occurrence. A link has been found between repeat concussions and mild cognitive impairment in young adult performers in rugby. It can also be associated with mild depression, memory loss and a poor verbal fluency. (By Professor Allyson Pollock For The Conversation Published: 12:13, 8 October 2015 | Updated: 16:52, 9th February 2016 http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3264739/Rugby-dangerous-not-doing-protect-kids-injury-Leading-expert-warns-young-players-risk-depression-memory-loss-speech-problems.html#ixzz53JRhne00)
-Concussions in professional rugby
A recent study of Premiership rugby in England concluded that rates of concussion have gone from 6.7 concussions per 1,000 player hours in 2012-13 to 15.8 concussions per 1,000 player hours in 2015-16 – or one brain injury in every couple of matches. The number of concussions has risen every year for the last four years. Of all match-day injuries, concussion now accounts for 25% of the total. (Tom English 27th April 2017 http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-union/39630540 ) This has shown that concussion have been more and more common, increasing from 2012 when there were 6.7 concussions in 1000 games, to 15.8 in every 1000 which is 2.3 times more than the year before. This increase and shows that the game is changing and the rules need to change with it to protect the players as well as protecting the performers. Prof Pollock’s report suggests there is evidence that banning tackling would reduce concussions, and head and neck injuries. Prof Pollock outlined that rugby had the highest concussion rates for children, when compared to sports like ice hockey or American football – both of which involve physical contact too. (26 September 2017 http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/41399553 ) Furthermore, researchers have found a distinct link between repeat concussions and chronic traumatic encephalopathy. This is a degenerative disease of the brain found in people with a history of repetitive concussion. There is also another link between Parkinson’s disease and other neurological diseases. Given that children are more susceptible to injuries such as concussion and often take longer to recover, the government’s plan to increase participation in rugby in schools, in the absence of a comprehensive system for injury surveillance and prevention. (By Professor Allyson Pollock For The Conversation Published: 12:13, 8 October 2015 | Updated: 16:52, 9 February 2016 http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3264739/Rugby-dangerous-not-doing-protect-kids-injury-Leading-expert-warns-young-players-risk-depression-memory-loss-speech-problems.html#ixzz53JRhne00)
-Other serious injury in rugby
There are many other serious injuries in rugby and also could be life threatening, broken bones and dislocation are common and can cause extreme pain as well as causing paralysation or brain damage. In the children’s game aged around 10-18 years, 35% of injuries are fractures, of which 24% involve the clavicle (Article by Jarred Edwards 7th November 2017 http://physioworks.com.au/Injuries-Conditions/Activities/rugby-union-injuries) , so serious injury occurs in professional and in kids game. Injuries like this at a child’s age can cause serious effect and effect the rest of their life, so is it worth the risk for the positives? Below there are two graphs with information from 849630198818500849630-60261500(http://www.englandrugby.com/mm/Document/MyRugby/Headcase/01/30/49/62/110510youthinjurygamewidehighres_Neutral.pdf) this shows how injury effects different age groups and the different types of injury from a pulled muscle to a broken bone.
From this information, it shows that injuries are more frequent in international or premiership games indicating that children are less at risk and gain more from the positives than adults do. The most common injuries are the moderate, which will cause at least 8-28 days’ rest for the injury to improve back to a state where they can play again, e.g. a sprained ankle. These moderate injuries are not going to affect you later on in life but also can cause pain and unnecessary injury if you didn’t play rugby. School rugby is lower on injuries and risks than the adult professionals, showing that the game is not just effecting kids but everyone who plays this high intensity sport. However, as the information shows above there is nearly a 100% chance that you will injured in a season, without pads your body goes through a lot of strain and ‘doesn’t do your body any good’ as many people say. Furthermore, a paper published by a student from the University of Arkansas System suggests that the game rugby is ‘an anti-human sport,’. Or that it comes very close to an animal sport because of its intensity and contact, as it tends to aim to harm the opposition to exploit their weaknesses and to use contact to get past them and gain distance to the try line. (https://studymoose.com/the-disadvantages-of-playing-rugby-essay)
Section 2- The positives of rugby
There are many positives of rugby as it can actually make you healthier and less likely to acquire minor injuries. Rugby will make you a lot healthier as it is a high intensity and fitness revolved, you will have higher state of vitality, as well as being in better shape; increasing your confidence and self-esteem as well as your general fitness and mental health. (http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/health_and_fitness/4272590.stm ). Your mental health can improve by helping to manage stress by taking it out on a game and ‘put it into use’ on the rugby pitch. Rugby also helps the cardiovascular endurance. Routine aerobic activities like jogging have been shown to help support a healthy cardiovascular system. Rugby players run, throw, tackle and sprint, which encourages the heart and lungs to function more effectively. This not only makes future exercise less stressful but can also lead to long term benefits. In evidence of this, one study of 100 university students put them through systematic physical training, with their pulse rate being monitored before, during and after exercise. The scientists found that those individuals who regularly played rugby experienced lower pulse rates than those not taking part in regular physical activity. These results support the notion that rugby helps to support a healthy heart and maintain heart rates within reasonable limits. (https://www.simplysupplements.co.uk/healthylife/fitness-tips/7-reasons-why-rugby-is-great-for-your-health By Dan H. | 17th November 2017)
It has been widely accepted in the literature that various forms of physical exercise, even in a single session, enhance positive mood. It has also been shown that physical exercise may sometimes enhance creative thinking, but the evidence is inconclusive. Positive moods can favour creative thinking, but the opposite has also been reported and these relations are unclear. There is a large quantity of anecdotal literature suggesting that creative people sometimes use bodily movement to help overcome “blocks”. The aim of this study was to establish whether post-exercise creative thinking was attributable to improved mood. (British Journal of Sports Medicine 1997; 31 245-245 Published Online First: 01 Sep 1997. http://bjsm.bmj.com/content/31/3/240.short)
Rugby also improves your life by preventing and allowing better control over some risk factors responsible for heart disease: diabetes, hypertension and high blood cholesterol.
Rugby also improves muscle and bone health (osteoporosis prevention). Playing rugby helps with toning the muscles of the forelimbs, hind limbs and chest. Moreover, the movements made during the game put stress on the bones. When the stress is above normal levels, it stimulates the deposition of calcium along the stress points. This increases your bone density. The advantage of this? You safeguard yourself from developing osteoporosis in the future! (March 20, 2017 http://bouncelife.co.uk/five-reasons-why-playing-rugby-is-good-for-your-health/)
Rugby will also teach you self-control and concentration; no one wants to let their team down, so rugby players need to control themselves in the heat of battle, especially when tempers flare. You don’t want to get sin-binned or sent off. It’s also a skill to be able to concentrate for a full match, as the smallest lapse can mean a chance is wasted or the opposition are given an opportunity to score. It’s easy to see how learning to keep a cool head and developing your mental sharpness will help in all aspects of your life. (March 20, 2017 http://bouncelife.co.uk/five-reasons-why-playing-rugby-is-good-for-your-health/)
The relationship between sleep and recovery after exercise, particularly relating to performance, is receiving more attention as the link between sleep cognitive function and metabolic function becomes better understood. Allowing us to fully understand the role that sleep has in the training process, in particular; during recovery.
Rugby is not a “steady state” sport like long-distance running, where intensity levels remain roughly equal throughout the exercise period. Instead, rugby is characterised by bouts of intense physical activity followed by brief “rest” periods. This is the very definition of a training philosophy known as “high intensity interval training” or HIIT for short. According to the American College of Sports Medicine one of the key benefits of HIIT is “reduced abdominal and subcutaneous fat”. Of course, playing rugby alone isn’t enough to lose weight, but when combined with a calorie-controlled diet the evidence suggests that it can definitely contribute to reductions in body fat. (Article by Dan H. https://www.simplysupplements.co.uk/healthylife/fitness-tips/7-reasons-why-rugby-is-great-for-your-health)
Joining a sports team gives both the younger and older generation a sense of belonging and the opportunity to make new friends. Getting involved in a sport also gives kids another friendship circle outside of school. Rugby can also be classed as a sort of social support with the working together as a team and being included. Kids learn to lose as a man and not take it personally, it will teach them that losing with integrity to a better player is a lot more honourable. Rugby can be a very competitive and frustrating game but can also be about learning how to control the frustration and competitive side of a game. Rugby also teaches anyone who plays the sport how to respect authority, as kids grow up we expect them to learn how to control their emotions, especially the negative ones. In sport emotions can run high and learning how to use them in the game allows us to channel and use them to our advantage. This will help in later life when this emotional stress hits you, you will be able to use it in the right way to tackle the problem. Rugby increases self-esteem so is very beneficial to the player in the future and in life at general. Patience is a huge point in rugby, for all players in rugby; even those who are gifted practice plays, a large role in whatever game you play and practise takes a great deal of patience.
In rugby, you need patience to improve and that practice takes patience. Patience is a life skill you need to have, when things get uncomfortable in life, patience is a virtue and it will help you deal with the discomfort in a way that best suits your life and the people around you. Patience is an exercise of self-control that shows you can handle life when times get tough, have the ability to look outside of yourself, and can withstand judgment when you need to. In short, exhibiting patience shows that you have a high moral standard in life. (http://www.ilanelanzen.com/personaldevelopment/here-are-9-reasons-why-patience-is-a-virtue/ February 6, 2016) Dedication, similar to patience, the discipline of training and the commitment it takes to pursue a sport is a trait transferrable to many other aspects of life. It is no coincidence that participation in sport is linked to higher academic achievement in school. If your kids put time and effort into getting better at something, and see the results, maybe – just maybe – they will put the same amount of dedication into their studies. (https://australiansportscamps.com.au/blog/ten-social-benefits-sport-kids/ Articles by Kyle Chandler/November 2, 2016) The players have to work as a team to win, this is another great skill to have because in jobs, a crucial skill that is favoured is the ability to work as a team, allowing people to work together to get the job done. Furthermore, communication is key. It shows us how to work as a team and communicate with the team to win and have fun. Resilience, the highs. The lows. The wins. The losses. Sport can often be a bit of an emotional rollercoaster. One study found that youngsters who are highly involved in sport are more ‘psychologically resilient’. This is not surprising when sport teaches encourages kids to pick themselves up after a hard tackle or hold their head up high after losing badly and get ‘right back out there’ next week. Sport is about bouncing back and learning from mistakes. The earlier kids can learn these skills the better. Overall, the psychological and social benefits of playing sport can help kids become well-rounded, mature adults. Whether it is a team sport or an individual sport like tennis, what your kids can learn goes undoubtedly beyond the physical. There are many avenues to junior sport through the club systems and other providers where kids can develop the above skills and attributes. All of these opportunities undoubtedly have a positive impact on the adult they become. (https://australiansportscamps.com.au/blog/ten-social-benefits-sport-kids/ In Articles by Kyle Chandler/November 2, 2016)
I asked a first team player of Bury St Edmunds rugby club about the positives of rugby and how they have affect him and his life due to the game. I asked ‘How has rugby changed you as a person and your mind set?’ And below was the response.
Yes. I have been involved in rugby for a long time and it is hard to say exactly how it has affected me. However, I am a strong believer that it teaches you discipline, outgoingness, resilience and generally increases confidence in young people. I also think the game teaches respect. Very few points have the same qualities rugby has in terms of sportsmanship and respect of the referee and other players.
I asked the question what positives in rugby do you most enjoy and affects you in a good way? And the answer is below.
The camaraderie and teamwork is certainly the most enjoyable aspect. Equally, the ethical stand point of rugby. How you can be involved in incredibly aggressive games and yet when the whistle goes there is no malice and teams respect one and other.
Section 3- the comparison
There have been huge debates about rugby and whether it is worth the risks that can occur in the game. There are many positives as well as negatives but one side will have to win in the end, and the end point is banning rugby for schools and younger adults or keeping it how it is with more developed rules in the future to stop as much serious injury in the game. There has been a massive debate with the head of world rugby doctor called Dr Martin Raferty, as there have been many people disagreeing and agreeing with this doctor. One of these people who don’t agree with Dr Martin Raferty is Dr Bennet Omalu. Dr Bennet Omalu is a neuropathologist who is known for his work with concussions and brain disease, he says ‘Under 18s should not play rugby’. (Jun 3, 2017 https://www.irishtimes.com/sport/rugby/international/world-rugby-s-dr-martin-raftery-you-can-never-eliminate-risk-1.3117027 Gavin Cummisky) he has called for a global ban of contact sports at underage levels. “The fundamental problem here is the risk of exposure to repetitive blows or hits to the head with or without concussions,” Dr Omalu told The Irish Times. “If you look at all the protocols that have been established by sports leagues across the world they are making it about concussions. “What we need to let people know, especially parents, because children are my focus, is: when you play high impact sports, and by that, I mean American Football, ice hockey, boxing, mixed martial arts, wrestling and rugby, your head is exposed to repeated blows and you may not suffer a documented concussion. All it takes is one season, one concussion and your child’s brain is permanently damaged. (Jun 3, 2017 https://www.irishtimes.com/sport/rugby/international/world-rugby-s-dr-martin-raftery-you-can-never-eliminate-risk-1.3117027 Gavin Cummisky) However, Dr Martin Raferty replies to this saying that ‘Dr Omalu is entitled to have an opinion but that’s exactly what it is, his opinion. It is not supported by evidence or expert groups. If you go back and look at people talking about contact sports in children there is not a lot of support in the scientific literature; the American academy of paediatricians in 2015 didn’t recommend banning contact sport. The Berlin concussion consensus expert group, which is made up of 32 members from a variety of specialties, they didn’t recommend banning contact sport for children. While all that says contact sports shouldn’t be banned, it doesn’t mean that we don’t have a responsibility for reducing the risk. Back in 2012 we started and we continue to push the point that we need to minimise the risk to playing rugby and that’s what we will continue to do. But we don’t think there is any support whatsoever for the banning of contact sports at under 18.’ (Jun 13, 2017 https://www.irishtimes.com/sport/rugby/international/world-rugby-s-dr-martin-raftery-you-can-never-eliminate-risk-1.3117027 Gavin Cummiskey)
Concussion and injury are such risks in rugby but perhaps there are more positives that will help you grow up and mature into a better you. The risk of injury is high but it’s a risk many people are willing to take for the positives that are about as it supports a very healthy lifestyle. As Dr Raferty suggests, there is a risk in all sports but we still play them for the fun, social aspects, the health aspects and the accomplishments.
However, some people don’t think that it is worth the risks in rugby for the little amount of good it does if you get injured. In a season, the probability of a player being injured can be as high as 90% in some studies, depending on the definition used. The majority of injuries, at least 75%, occur during contact or collision, such as the tackle and the scrum. (By Professor Allyson Pollock For The Conversation Published: 12:13, 8 October 2015 | Updated: 16:52, 9 February 2016 http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3264739/Rugby-dangerous-not-doing-protect-kids-injury-Leading-expert-warns-young-players-risk-depression-memory-loss-speech-problems.html#ixzz53JRhne00) This makes me believe it is worth getting hurt for a ‘good time’ playing rugby but it will not be a good time if I end up in a plaster cast or with a concussion because that will affect the future negatively, and from studies above can lead to a higher risk of getting dementia or brain diseases. Which makes me question, is it really worth it? The risk of losing your normal life to a game which doesn’t have any rewards apart from having fun with the players, a social aspect, enjoying yourself and the satisfaction of an achievement or winning the game. It coild be suggested that the positive effect of rugby is pointless because once you have injured yourself you can’t play for a certain amount of time and the positive bits of rugby wont mattre because you cannot play, it just isn’t worth hurting yourself and dealing with the effects for the rest of your life.
In rugby there is a great deal of social interaction between the teams and after the game with the opposition. Social interaction allows people to express their feelings and share their problems with other people which has a beneficial outcome on human health. Good social support might also help coping with stress and major life changes like a divorce, redundancy, moving to a new house etc. It is proved that lonely people more often suffer from cardiovascular problems, stress and depression. Knowing that we are valued by others is an important psychological factor in helping us to forget the negative aspects of our lives, and thinking more positively about our environment (September 14, 2012 · HEBF Latest http://www.hebiofeedback.co.uk/hebf-latest/the-importance-of-social-interaction-to-human-health/ ) However, being in the presence of people for the social interaction surely cannot justify the later injuries and negatives of rugby e.g. the risk of mental health problems and to reduce the life of the player. Social interaction is very important part of your life as you can see above. On the contrary, people like Dr Bennet Omalu say that none of it is worth it and that the risk is way too high for all of this.
Communication skills are a very important in life; they are needed all throughout life in your job or school. Communication is the base of all human life to get on with one another, to share discoveries and important information. Communication is such an important part of life, it allows all communities to support and thrive together, this allows people to profit and do better with each other than apart. Communication is a huge part in rugby as you will have to work as a team and talk to each other to win and be successful. Communication is the art of successfully sharing meaningful information with people by means of an interchange of experience. Coaches wish to motivate the athletes they work with and to provide them with information that will allow them to train effectively and improve performance. Communication from the coach to athlete will initiate appropriate actions. This however, requires the athlete to receive the information from the coach but also to understand and accept it. (https://www.brianmac.co.uk/commun.htm). There are many other ways you can improve your communication skills but why put yourself at risk? In these situations, is where you learn how to communicate in the right way e.g. if there was an argument on the field you will learn how to handle it with communication, these skills will become helpful in future life and I think is worth the risk because we live and we learn but having fun at the same time is the best way to learn.
Self-discipline is the key to reaching not just your health & fitness goals but also all life goals. It is the major quality that opens all doors for you and makes everything else possible. With self-discipline, the average person can rise as far and as fast as his talents and intelligence can take him. Without self-discipline, a person with every blessing of knowledge, genetics, and opportunity will seldom rise above mediocrity. (May 11 2016 · Wilfred Paul https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-importance-of-self-discipline-5) One of the most important skills for me in rugby is discipline. You can win or lose a game based on the discipline of your team or an individual player. I watch a lot of sport and it always amaze me, even among top level professional sportsmen, the lack of self-control the players have. I would like to think the England rugby players are role models in the way that they control themselves in a highly charged atmosphere. Clive Woodward holds aloft the Calcutta Cup. You have to learn to use your head because the mind is a very powerful part of sport. It’s about rehearsing in your mind about all the good things – and bad – that can happen and how you are going to react to them, what you are going to do. When things do happen on the pitch, you have to think clearly, under pressure, and make the right decision. (Clive Woodward http://news.bbc.co.uk/sportacademy/hi/sa/rugby_union/features/newsid_2116000/2116430.stm). Self-discipline is one of the most used skills on the rugby pitch, as we have to respect the referee even if we believe they may have made the wrong decision we have to play on and look past it. We do this because of self-discipline and the respect for the referee’s decisions and the rules for the game. In rugby, self-discipline is a lot more common than other sports so you learn to use it and respect it like in no other sport.
Cardiovascular endurance increases the efficiency of the heart and lungs to supply oxygenated blood to the working muscle and vital organs. This is very important because it increases your health and can make you live a longer, healthier life. Researchers (involved in the Harvard Health Alumni Study, which was published in the April, 1995 edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association) shows that a better cardiovascular endurance can increase a longer life and to live a healthier life. Studies performed at the Centre for the Biopsychosocial Studies of AIDS at the University of Miami found that aerobic exercise had a “profound impact” on managing the symptoms of AIDS patients. Another study, which was performed at the Physical Fitness Research Laboratory in the University of Illinois found that aerobic exercise had a positive effect on the immune function of the elderly. (Lisa Marie Mercer http://exercise.lovetoknow.com/Why_Is_Cardiovascular_Fitness_Important). Cardiovascular endurance proves itself really import for health in peoples’ life, it increases weight loss and increases bone strength. Although the huge risk of injury in rugby challenges the positives from the cardiovascular endurance, perhaps the health benefits of the high intensity sport is worth the risks of a game and the training preparing for it.
Strength in upper and lower body helps with bones; allowing you to become stronger as muscles contract against them causing stress. This means that as your muscles become stronger, the exercise strengthens your bones and also improves* in order to handle the contractions. Bone strengthening is a shield against fractures and osteoporosis. (https://www.consumerhealthdigest.com/workouts/benefits-of-upper-body-workout-for-women.html Evan Jensen). Celebrity trainer Jillian Michaels shares that “If your upper body strength deteriorates as you age, you are more prone to injuries, disease and a diminished quality of life. You naturally tend to lose muscle as you age. That is called sarcopenia and begins as early as your 20s. You can lose up to 40 percent of your muscle mass by the time you reach your 60s. Loss of muscle mass in your upper body can have a great effect on other aspects of your life. For example, if you injure your lower extremities and require the use of crutches, upper body strength allows you to remain mobile. The same is true if you find yourself in a wheelchair temporarily or need the use of a walker.”( Why Is Upper Body Strength Important https://getfit.jillianmichaels.com/upper-body-strength-important-1032.html’ ) Upper body strength is used a lot in rugby. By increasing your upper body strength, you can avoid injuries so you become less prone to injuries in rugby the stronger you are, this is a point against the injury aspect of rugby that is a huge negative of the game. This shows that injury can be decreased by increasing strength and your cardiovascular endurance as it strengthens your bones. This shows that rugby is a dangerous game. However, the injuries can be prevented from training your body to cope with the game.
In the game rugby agility is a huge part of beating your opponent; if you have good agility you will be able to change directions and react quickly to things. This will help in life too as you will be able to move out of danger quicker and can reduce the risk of injury in a game if you can avoid the contact. However, is it worth the risk of getting seriously hurt and injured that could affect you for life? It’s a case of taking the risk for all these positives and some injuries are worth the positives. With increased endurance created from agility training, an individual’s skeletal system is better equipped to handle longer durations of agility-types activities, thus decreasing chances of injuries due to fatigue. Flexibility has been found to improve with agility training, which directly decreases injuries due to an individual performing movement of extreme range of motion. Agility training teaches the correct body placement while performing movements, which means that sensitive areas such as the shoulders, knees or lower back are more protected. Agility training also increases balance and body control, so individuals are better able to maintain and correct their centre of gravity and avoid hurting themselves because of falling of attempting to catch oneself. (https://healthfully.com/benefits-agility-training-5981121.html Kim Nunley)
In my questionnaire (attached to this document source 1+2) I asked a first team player whom plays for Bury St Edmunds and a coach at Bury St Edmunds about the controversy in this matter. I asked them “do you think the positive attributes of rugby outweigh the negatives of injury?” They both agree that rugby has a huge part of their lives and outweighs the negatives hugely even though one of them was badly injured but still believes it is worth it.
Next, I asked them “have any injuries in your past affected your future in the game and life?” and their responses were very surprising. Both of them have had injuries that caused them discomfort and source 2 shows that he has been suffering physiologically about his injury, but doesn’t regret playing rugby as it is a huge part of him and helped him develop and he has found himself. Source 1 shows that he has had injuries that have reoccurred but they have not made a negative impact on his life. As well as believing that the positives have affected his life in a better way than the negatives.
However, the negatives of a serious injury do give a large point to argue against the positives. Making me question whether or not all these great positives justify getting injured and being effected for the rest of your life. There are a lot of people saying it isn’t at all and all these positives don’t mean anything due to the importance of this negative because it can affect your life and cause a lot of pain. There are a huge range of serious injury and can easily happen in a game of rugby as there is a 90% risk of getting injured in a season (By Professor Allyson Pollock For The Conversation Published: 12:13, 8 October 2015 | Updated: 16:52, 9 February 2016 http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3264739/Rugby-dangerous-not-doing-protect-kids-injury-Leading-expert-warns-young-players-risk-depression-memory-loss-speech-problems.html#ixzz53JRhne00) There is a point that there is a risk of hurting yourself in everything but in rugby there is such a huge percentage of getting injured that it might not be worth it. You can get some of the same positives in other game where there is less contact and still most of the positives. Like bowling for example, people choose to go bowling and work as a team, becoming more confident, still getting the same team interaction as rugby and also getting exercise with almost none of the risk involved.
A recent study of Premiership rugby in England concluded that rates of concussion have gone from 6.7 concussions per 1,000 player hours in 2012-13 to 15.8 concussions per 1,000 player hours in 2015-16 – or one brain injury in every couple of matches. The number of concussions has risen every year for the last four years. Of all match-day injuries, concussion now accounts for 25% of the total. (Tom English 27 April 2017 http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-union/39630540) When is it going to stop? Will it just keep increasing until rugby isn’t playable with someone getting injured and concussed every game, this will not be worth it. As more concussions an individual experiences, the higher risk of people getting mental diseases and other mental illnesses later in life. (Prof Pollock 26 September 2017 http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/41399553 )
Traumatic and repetitive concussion or brain injury can cause long lasting effects and at a child’s age they are still growing and in rugby it is a routine occurrence. A link has been found between repeat concussions and mild cognitive impairment in young adult performers in rugby. Can also be associated with mild depression, memory loss and a poor verbal fluency. (By Professor Allyson Pollock For The Conversation Published: 12:13, 8 October 2015 | Updated: 16:52, 9 February 2016 http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3264739/Rugby-dangerous-not-doing-protect-kids-injury-Leading-expert-warns-young-players-risk-depression-memory-loss-speech-problems.html#ixzz53JRhne00 ) So is it worth it for your children to risk their future? For a life without disease, mental illness and injuries so they can’t live their life how they want without breaking their body before they get to get a chance to do what they want, it could also limit the children later in life if they have to many contact and concussions.
Other serious injuries like fractures can cause extreme pain and can also affect you for the rest of your life. If you get a fracture you can be out of school which has a negative effect on your education or if you are working then you will have to have time off with sick pay or if you don’t have sick pay then you are losing money what you might be relying on to pay the bills. This means it can have a huge effect on your life within work because you might even lose your job, if you break your arm and have to get a caster for 6 weeks then you can’t work for that time and you can lose your job. The fact that you are unable to do what you want and enjoy because of injury in the sport that you work hard for is not just saddening, but also frustrating.
Ultimately, I have concluded that I believe that rugby is worth the risk of injury, I may be bias but I have experienced seven years of rugby and I haven’t had any serious injuries other than a concussion in seven years. The positives have been a huge part of my life as it has made me a lot more confident with myself in the game of rugby and in my life outside of rugby; it has increased my self-esteem and really brought me out of my shell. Although having a concussion I have never found negatives from playing the game. I have had all the positives of rugby and they have really helped me as a person and made me who I am today, now researching all the negatives I still want to play rugby because I know if I believe in myself, use the right technique and maintain my fitness levels, I can lower the risk of serious injury hugely. “The benefits of sports and exercise far outweigh the risks, but occasionally injuries do happen.” The National Health Service said this. (https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/sports-injuries/ 21/03/2017) this shows that even the health service who deal with all the injuries from sort still agree that the positives are worth it for the risk of injury.