National League Rugby Discussion Forums Homepage
Forum Home Forum Home > League Rugby - www.leaguerugby.co.uk > Clubhouse chat
  New Posts New Posts RSS Feed - Yesterday's Guardian
  FAQ FAQ  Forum Search   Events   Register Register  Login Login

IMPORTANT Remember to read the rules of the board and abide by them when posting.

Topic ClosedYesterday's Guardian

 Post Reply Post Reply
Author
Message
RedPete View Drop Down
World Cup Winner
World Cup Winner
Avatar

Joined: 08 Jul 2010
Location: Taunton
Status: Offline
Points: 1049
Direct Link To This Post Topic: Yesterday's Guardian
    Posted: 15 Dec 2013 at 12:22
Schadenfreude - such a big word for something so small-minded
Back to Top
mdg99 View Drop Down
World Cup Winner
World Cup Winner


Joined: 26 May 2012
Location: Buckingham
Status: Offline
Points: 339
Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Dec 2013 at 15:31
just going on personal experience (number of concussions varying from in game, to ski crash to slipping on ice) i think it really depends on how strong the medical team/physios are. My most recent concussion came from slipping on ice and smashing my head on the pavement. The physio at the academy I was at (that probably helped having access to good quality support) clearly insisted that it took the mandatory 3 weeks break from contact, but then before I was sent back into training i had to do a number of tests, and during these I started to get headaches particularly in the squat position (as a prop quite a common position to be in) She then informed the coaches I was not going to be allowed back to training until i got an MRI scan to check there was no further damage. Fortunately there wasn't, and i was back playing after a total of 6 weeks. Looking at the tragic example of Ben Robinson, It does make me realise that I was lucky I was in an environment where there was experienced medical help for the players, unlike what it sounds like was the case for Ben. No mention of a physio being present in the article at all. Although I would say that as a mature 18 year old who had experienced a severe concussion earlier in my life, I would have been strong about not playing until ok. But to expect that from a 14 year old is not fair.

From reading the article (bearing in mind i also coach now as well) It was the coaches fault. No matter how important a match is, (and quite frankly in a second round U15 cup game is not that important) you cant take risks with peoples heads. You can live without a leg or an arm, but not your head.

 I found the fact that none of the coaches/refs involved knew about SCAT. I have recently done my Level 2 RFU course, and there was no mention during that course at all of SCAT. Personally i will now go and read/print them off. I know basically what the signs are(more from personal experience than anything else) but feel now, i have a responsibility not just to any players i may be coaching, but to myself as well to make sure I am as knowledgeable as i can be on such an important thing as concussion. 

Finally I would just like to express my sincerest condolences to the Robinson family, and hope that they will eventually be able to get some form of closure.
Back to Top
kingsheathlad View Drop Down
World Cup Winner
World Cup Winner
Avatar

Joined: 15 Jan 2010
Location: Haselor.
Status: Offline
Points: 1884
Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Dec 2013 at 16:39
Tragic reading that article, lets hope in his memory something has been learnt, and those in power can do something , and it can be avoided not just in the game of rugby and but in all sports at all levels.
Cauliflower ear
Back to Top
Guests View Drop Down
Rugby supporters
Rugby supporters
Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Dec 2013 at 17:39
This is an horrific incident but I think that we should not be too quick to lay the blame at the feet of any individuals.  The game is a macho game and has become more so recently.  Look on the net.  The video clips of big hits outnumber the those of skilful play.  We revel in it.

It is against this background that players perform: no blood no harm.  Players are eager to go back on.  Just look at Brian O'Driscoll's distress when the doctor would not let him back on against the All Blacks.  To say that this was "just" an under 15 cup game is disingenuous.  This was probably the biggest game that poor Ben had played in and had the consequent pressure for him.  My guess is that he would want to go back on.  

There are two things that will save the Bens of the future.  One is a culture change.  It is OK to come off even if all your limbs are still attached and blood is not pouring out of gaping wound; it does not make you a wuss.  However, the game does not attract those to whom that attitude comes naturally especially when the adrenalin is pumping.  Secondly we need to look at the structure of the game and see if there is anything that can be done to strengthen its aerobic element against its anaerobic element; more running, fewer collisions; more fast feet and fewer hard yards.


Back to Top
mdg99 View Drop Down
World Cup Winner
World Cup Winner


Joined: 26 May 2012
Location: Buckingham
Status: Offline
Points: 339
Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Dec 2013 at 19:57
Stan, When i made the comment about the game not being that important, i was referring to the coach. It was not a final (not that that should be a reason for someone with concussion to continue) and it sounds like it was his decision whether Ben went back on or not, and he got it wrong. As I said in my initial post, you can't expect a 14 year old to tell his coach to take him off.

I completely agree with you about the attitude of always trying to continue, and that it isn't a good thing. As I said I was fortunate that there was a good physio dept at the academy, who were respected and listened to by the coaching team. So I would venture that we are more likely to see incidents such as this at a lower level/younger age where there is not the access to free medical/physio care.

I agree with your first point about the culture needing to change, It is actually one thing i really dont like about rugby, the excessive machoness. However your second point i do have issues with. It sounds like effectively you are suggesting reducing the number of players or something like that. I would just say look at the collisions in rugby league, would say they are bigger than in union so i would say reducing numbers wouldnt guarantee a reduction in collisions.
Back to Top
Guests View Drop Down
Rugby supporters
Rugby supporters
Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Dec 2013 at 20:48
Midg

I am very pro anything to do with concussion precautions as in the olden days I was a very lucky boy indeed.  This next bit I was told. Having been kicked in the head, I "recovered" on the field and played on.  I was put on the wing; I started at outside half..  They hauled off when I was watching the game on the next pitch.  I got lucid just as they did so I remember this bit.  They asked me a series of questions and I was doing great until they asked me the score.  We had kicked a penalty when I was "elsewhere". The school sent me home. When I started throwing up my parents took me to hospital. I had a hairline fracture of the skull as well as the concussion. So my thanks to a guy called Ian Banks I reckon that if he had missed I would have gone back on and been delighted to do so.  

All that was foty odd years ago.  The game has changed a lot since.  As I have said elsewhere rules that were brought in to ensure continuity of play have also produced continuity of possession.  In the olden days third phase possession merited a note of the date, time and place that it occurred; nowadays tenth phase does't raise an eyebrow.  What it does do is make the defending team commit as few as possible to the ruck or maul as the attacking team is overwhelmingly likely to retain possession.  The defenders try to nullify the advantage of continued possession by littering the fringes with forwards hence more hits and more hard yards.  This is where I believe some thought might pay dividend

The other change that I am big on is in the timing off the game.  Currently the ball is only active for less than half an hour.  I believe that if we went to two halves each of 20 minutes but with the clock stopped when the ball was active then we would tilt the balance against the more muscular players by increasing the aerobic effort required to play the extra 12 minutes or so.  Once that is the case the size of the players may well decrease to cope with the extra running just as it has increased to cope with the hits.  The number and power of hits will decrease and players may be safer as a result.
Back to Top
Guests View Drop Down
Rugby supporters
Rugby supporters
Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Dec 2013 at 07:45
Been thinking about this off and on for a couple of days and wondering about what I posted above.  I am more and more convinced that the "hits" culture that we are developing is doing the game a disservice.  having read Austin Healey's article that is linked on the thread about game time, i was impressed by the point that he made about players being prepared for the specifics of the game.  His point was that if you have a game which will involved you in 25 big hits per game but in which you will cover only 2.5 miles in an hour 20 minutes (not even a decent walk) then players will adapt their physiques to meet the demands of the game.

My most recent thoughts are about how even when I was playing as a schoolboy our game was modeled on the top level.  I am sure that is still the case and we have at least a pale version of the collision and clear out game being played by schoolboys.  Schoolboys who are not undergoing that grueling physical preparation to play that game.  Schoolboys, some ogf whom have gone through growth spurts, some of whom have filled out and some who are still waiting to do either. Seems a dangerous mix to me.

.
Back to Top
Alcazarcat View Drop Down
World Cup Winner
World Cup Winner
Avatar

Joined: 16 Dec 2011
Location: Purley o Thames
Status: Offline
Points: 522
Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Jan 2014 at 21:32
As someone who has some medical background I am surprised at the lack of response to this subject.
I for one remember several occasions when people have been concussed on the field. Some forty years ago and more. Even in those days there was an understanding and in the main they were handled extremely well.
Rugby is a different game now and it is easy to see how a mismatch might occur, which in turn might lead to a serious medical condition arising. There will always be unfortunate outcomes but these should be minimised by improved understanding.
It would seem the IRB has missed an opportunity, and the rest of the Rugby world is burying it's head, this is not a way forward, it is however a potential route for the banning of Rugby altogether. Put in this light I hope Rugby will take a more proactive role in addressing such areas.
Rugby is a contact sport, not suited to all. There will be injuries some severe the occasional one life threatening. Referees control the game and should have sufficient training to be confident in sending someone who is clearly unfit to the sidelines. Coaches and relatives should be responsible in their approach to the level of fitness and medical background of the individuals to whom they are attached.
 
Where players meet on a relatively even footing, there should be few serious problems. Where young players meet professionals is possibly the most vulnerable area. This might be percieved as national 1 where a 17 year old might meet a 90% fit premiership player or even one 100% fit. In my opinion there would still need to be an odd set of circumstances, for at this level all are well trained.
 
It remains that Rugby should be proactive in this area, failure to be responsible is not an option.
 
Sorry gents very disappointed in the level of interest and input.
What a flanker!
Back to Top
Halliford View Drop Down
World Cup Winner
World Cup Winner
Avatar

Joined: 17 Feb 2010
Location: United Kingdom
Status: Offline
Points: 2939
Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Jan 2014 at 10:59
Alcazarcat, I read the Guardian article and this thread before Christmas. I didn't comment because I no longer coach and the thread seemed to need relatively expert comment.

I do remember from my days of running coaching courses for the RFU that rugby was defined as a collision sport, not a contact sport, and likened to American Football rather than soccer or Australian Football. The emphasis was around teaching and coaching correct technique in contact (or collision) situations.

In my 30 years of coaching and managing a team I've seen several collisions which have led to suspected concussions. IIRC I always removed the player from the field of play and did not allow a return, having been warned of the potential dangers through the RFU coaching advice. For many years I followed the 3-week rule until it was replaced with the current test which requires a player to demonstrate continued recovery through a series of tests (can't remember exactly).

For professional players any long-term damage where the correct procedure was not followed would open the Club to an Employer's Liability claim. For junior players where the Club has a duty of care, and for other amateur players then there is the possibility of a Public Liability claim.

Every Club and every team must have a formal, strictly-applied policy on concussion and head injuries. Under our recent DoRs we have always had one and it has been observed as far as I am aware.

I don't glory in big hits, I enjoy a tackle well-made and well-timed. It is interesting to see the difference in Courtney Lawes this season who has toned down the power of some of his tackles and tried to time them and target the ball better as being a better contribution to his team's defence than the big hit which may look good but doesn't always achieve the object of breaking up a team's pattern.

Inevitably, though, professional rugby will create problems. Will we have a concussiongate to follow bloodgate? I hope not and the worry, as already mentioned, is that young players will copy what they see at the top level. The responsibility of coaches, referees and Club officials is to ensure that the damage potential is minimised.
Back to Top
RedOrDead View Drop Down
World Cup Winner
World Cup Winner


Joined: 16 Apr 2008
Status: Offline
Points: 9107
Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Jan 2014 at 16:03
Originally posted by Alcazarcat Alcazarcat wrote:

Sorry gents very disappointed in the level of interest and input.

I would imagine that the lack of comment is down to the fact that everyone has been well aware of the story for a long time and that the subject been discussed at length already.

Don't get me wrong, I think the subject is hugely important (it's been a soapbox subject of mine for at least a couple of years), and I'm amazed that this story hasn't caused more of a furore, which has left me resigned to the fact that it will take a higher profile tragedy or a law suit before the game sits up and takes notice.

Uncle O'Driscoll's approach has been highly commendable and given some profile to the problem, but as you intimate, the risks are probably greater at a national league level where forces are almost as great as at the top level, but levels of medical support are much lower. Last season a watched a player take a blow to the head early in the game, it seemed clear to me from the sidelines that he was concussed. After the game, he was seen vomiting on the sideline and sounded like he was on another planet in a radio interview, a team mate mentioned him vomiting at half time in a newspaper article. Sure enough he played 8 days later, to be fair, maybe his club had concussion protocols in place and assessed that he had recovered, but I'm rather sceptical. That aside, what were coaches and medical staff thinking to allow him to play on in the first half and more so to rejoin the fray after being sick at half time? The competitive mentality of players means that they are never going to request to go off (and once concussed are not capable of making this assessment anyway), so this decision must be taken out of their hands.


Edited by RedOrDead - 08 Jan 2014 at 19:07
Back to Top
Guests View Drop Down
Rugby supporters
Rugby supporters
Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Jan 2014 at 16:12
Red

Think about rewording the end of that first sentence
Back to Top
RedOrDead View Drop Down
World Cup Winner
World Cup Winner


Joined: 16 Apr 2008
Status: Offline
Points: 9107
Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Jan 2014 at 19:08
Originally posted by Stantheman Stantheman wrote:

Red

Think about rewording the end of that first sentence

Fair point, done - genuine (albeit thoughtless) error rectified.
Back to Top
Steve@Mose View Drop Down
World Cup Winner
World Cup Winner
Avatar

Joined: 01 Jun 2007
Location: United Kingdom
Status: Offline
Points: 1741
Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Jan 2014 at 17:18

Professional players to undergo concussion training programme


One point - could the OP or an admin amend the thread title to include Concussion to make it easier to locate?

Back to Top
RedOrDead View Drop Down
World Cup Winner
World Cup Winner


Joined: 16 Apr 2008
Status: Offline
Points: 9107
Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Jan 2014 at 17:44
Originally posted by Steve@Mose Steve@Mose wrote:

Professional players to undergo concussion training programme


One point - could the OP or an admin amend the thread title to include Concussion to make it easier to locate?


Maybe I'm being cynical, but this strikes me as a bit of a PR exercise. I'd imagine that the players are aware of the dangers of concussion, but the nature of the mentality of competitors in a contact sport (as well as peer / employer pressure) means that they chose to ignore them. Education may help players to realise that they are concussed in hindsight, but as I said above, a player who has just been knocked half senseless is hardly in the best position to make an assessment of their fitness to continue.

The more frustrating point which the article makes towards the end is that this does nothing for the semi-pro / amateur game. Effectively the RFU are saying that it's important to look after players who are tended to well already by professional medical teams / referees, but it's not important to educate those with a duty of care over players who play in a less controlled environment.
Back to Top
dumbape View Drop Down
World Cup Winner
World Cup Winner
Avatar

Joined: 23 Oct 2008
Status: Offline
Points: 796
Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Jan 2014 at 09:19
Well said RoD

At the higher end of youth rugby and when refereeing I have had to insist in at least two games that players had to be subbed as I felt they were unable to continue and faced strong resistance from uber competitive coaches. In both these cases they were very visibly suffering from concussion symptoms. MOST coaches do act quickly though in my experience though no complacency should be allowed.

Another point to make is that team mates can be brilliant in addressing this with folks being 'persuaded' to leave the field when neither the player, ref or those on the touchline haven't realised there was an issue... I have seen it time and again. Years ago I has hammered playing 7's, hit the noggin on the deck and only stubbornness was keeping me vertical a minute or two later. I was wobbled of the field and 20 minutes later keeled over. Thankfully no real damage had been done - friends may disagree.
What a blessing it would be if we could open and shut our ears as easily as we open and shut our eyes!
Back to Top
Halliford View Drop Down
World Cup Winner
World Cup Winner
Avatar

Joined: 17 Feb 2010
Location: United Kingdom
Status: Offline
Points: 2939
Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Jan 2014 at 10:46
Originally posted by dumbape dumbape wrote:

 Thankfully no real damage had been done - friends may disagree.

Happy to disagree!

I agree that this does seem to be targeted only at the professional end but we need to remember that young players ape the role models they see on TV. If they see fewer "big hits" and more players missing matches through concussion then there will be an effect.

I'd hope that, as I said before, Clubs and Schools have robust policies in place to ensure that over-competitive coaches are stopped from allowing players with symptoms to continue playing. The responsibility for setting the standards lies with the RFU but the implementation of those standards has to be done at Club and School level.
Back to Top
RedOrDead View Drop Down
World Cup Winner
World Cup Winner


Joined: 16 Apr 2008
Status: Offline
Points: 9107
Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Jan 2014 at 16:13
Originally posted by dumbape dumbape wrote:

At the higher end of youth rugby and when refereeing I have had to insist in at least two games that players had to be subbed as I felt they were unable to continue and faced strong resistance from uber competitive coaches. In both these cases they were very visibly suffering from concussion symptoms. MOST coaches do act quickly though in my experience though no complacency should be allowed.

Coaches like this make my blood boil. Either they are aware of the story that brought this thread about and think that a young man's life is worth risking for the sake of winning a game of rugby or they are ignorant of the risk they are taking by trying to keep players in this state on the field. Neither is remotely acceptable, particularly where youth players are concerned.

That being the case, maybe it would be a good idea for a feedback mechanism to be put into place so that referees or even opposition coaches and concerned parents can report the offending party to the RFU for them to look into the incident further and re-educate the guilty party if necessary.

On a slight tangent, I'm surprised that coaches the coaches you mention above weren't keen to substitute their players from a performance point of view. The times I recall seeing players play on after a clear concussion, they had an exceedingly quiet remainder of the game and were two yards off the pace. At the level you describe, surely the team would be better off with a substitute on the field.

One last question out of interest, what sort of guidance do you receive about identifying and assessing possible concussions at the level you referee(d) at?
Back to Top
dumbape View Drop Down
World Cup Winner
World Cup Winner
Avatar

Joined: 23 Oct 2008
Status: Offline
Points: 796
Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Jan 2014 at 18:29
RoD

In answer to the questions ... The processes exist in clubs and the RFU through the Child welfare process. I followed up after the game/s through this route which was (I think) the right way to do it. Some folks think you can 'run off' a knock and to a certain extent I think that is true ... BUT that does not make it right or the best thing to do as you may be adding to the potential risk tremendously. Coaches may think a key player will run it off and that is taking a chance. A problem here is the laws of substitutions (injury/tactical), maybe it would be useful to add injury assessment as a reason for say a 10 minute period of off-field examination, just as we allow for blood injuries. This would be an easy step to take and allow some of the adrenaline and pressure felt by the player to ease off and allow symptoms/issues to present and calmer Decisons be made.

On reporting etc - Referees can raise any matter they aren't happy about as it is - though I would accept that perhaps some don't use all the authority and channels open to them. I'd like the view of one of the society ref's currently active on this point, but I think a club coach that was a concern could easily be ID'd and follow-up,action taken either through the club, county or indeed RFU. If folks aren't aware of the processes then more needs to done to make them more visible and this in itself can have positive effects.

With regard to the training re concussion I am a little surprised that there has been no mention of some the resources and focus the RFU places in this. I have in my rugby files materials they have developed that directly address (though this may have come from either the coaching or first aid courses attended, not the refs ones) that are very good and give clear guidance. While any complacency must always be guarded against I don't think the problem is anywhere near as widespread as some might think. However even one instance is one too many.



Edited by dumbape - 14 Jan 2014 at 18:37
What a blessing it would be if we could open and shut our ears as easily as we open and shut our eyes!
Back to Top
 Post Reply Post Reply
  Share Topic   

Forum Jump Forum Permissions View Drop Down

Forum Software by Web Wiz Forums® version 11.04
Copyright ©2001-2015 Web Wiz Ltd.