Do we get it? Does World Rugby get it? – Or shall we continue the path of archaic ignorance?
When lives and livelihood are at risk of even death, do we continue with the so popular quip “She’ll be right Mate” or behaving like the ostrich burying its head in the sand?
Buying a ticket to the ‘footy’ RCS (Roman Circus Show) or paying a monthly subscription for closed TV doesn’t buy you a beer or a burger, let alone the Health and Wellbeing athletes, the peace of mind of families and friends, not even one instalment of the Health Insurance policy.
So, why is it so? (JSM’s) – Last Saturday 3rd July 2021, I saw and read the following article in the RUGBY PASS website, heading:
I am absolutely disgusted… A stain on our great game’ – Bracken lashes Lions (rugbypass.com)
Check out the Twitter video…
Could not help myself and jump onto my laptop, and quick off the mark within 15 minutes came up with the following.
Whip-lash consequences in ANY sudden-stop on hard surfaces! – TOPO
You may have seen Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs hooker) of well over 100Kg, running (Kamikaze-like) with the ball, full tilt. Then taking a fall after a low obstacle (the opposite player). Now notice the sharp almost imperceptible (bang) of the head with the surface, only for half-a-second and he continues by inertia to eventually lie on the ground.
This is all you need, an equivalent to stabbing your brain for half-second (in and out). Yet, the incident it has not stopped there, the brain is banging against the walls of his skull (creating even more lesions, damage(s) in other areas (not stabbed). How do we measure or ascertain the likely damage? – For the non-scientific experts (Coaches and trailers) it seems that the best form of diagnosis is to ‘test’ the reaction of the player by going onto the field within 7 days (or when the next match is played). I have seen this many times on tour, where you play Sat-Wed-Sat! – Players that were told/ordered by the physio to rest and light training, all of the sudden go onto hard contact training and a full-on test match for another 80 minutes banging of the whole body. Even if the head remains untouched, the brain is subject to this ‘blender-effect’ every time the athlete sprints and stops. Fitness, genetics, chemistry, and pre-disposition will do the rest (either good, bad, or otherwise).
Will the brain recover?
The one-million-dollar question, yet by the looks of it, in 10 years it will be more the 100M dollar question, so on and so forth. But no matter how much the compensation will be, the well-being and prospects of peaceful and enjoyable adulthood will disappear (or vanish) very rapidly. The faster the player, the faster the damage. ‘Speed Kills’, whether on a rugby or football grass, basketball tiles, on a motorcycle, a Formula 1 racing car, or a speeding ordinary Toyota/Nissan. TOPO 03/07/2021.
Nonetheless, afterwards, I felt a bit uncertain and thought perhaps I was pushing the proverbial envelope a bit much, so I consulted with our ISSF Team or Scientists, in case I inadvertently did put my foot on a ‘booby trap’, and so…
Here is one more levelled scientific comment from Mr Edmond Sorich (Biochemist, Biomarkers and Genome Expert)
The speed/momentum thing is still unproven with the little measurable science we currently have but the physical sciences would certainly agree. Also, the injury is non penetrative so the comparison to stabbing maybe a ‘little strong’. That said, the lack of recovery indeed graded recovery is the real sleeper. The real message we are missing out on. Most professional players will be diagnosed but it’s the return which sub professional players in particular are most at peril. Summary, speed kills and with no option for seat belts or airbags, getting back on the road requires back to L’s followed by red and green P’s.
Well, considering Edmond’s comments, yes he is correct. So I hereby retract from the ‘stabbing’ analogy, and replace it with “Involuntarily, yet self-inflicted head-butting the ground” (with the variables of body weight, speed, and acceleration to be considered). If rugby and other collision sports (as they call them) continue favouring this ‘obstinate demolition derby’ style of play, we are going nowhere but to the CT Scans room fast, and then only God knows the repercussions and sequels of this weekend entertainment.
The way for ‘creating gaps’ in the defence is, by increasing the CONTINUITY of the game (in rugby is principle No 3). And continuity increases by STOPPING THE STOPPAGES. In doing so many gaps will suddenly appear by merits of players not being able to sustain a maximum heart rate, and/or able to project their full body weight, and a diminished acceleration. Hence the impacts will reduce gradually as you reach less effectiveness or levels of exhaustion. Not to be ignored, a far more entertaining spectacle full of the neglected ‘surprise factor’ and increased counter-attack opportunities.
My conclusion is,
SPEED KILLS, and STOPPAGES KILL CONTINUITY!
MORE CONTINUITY = LESS COLLISSION and LESSER DAMAGES.
The wonderful RUCK of Old, had the virtue of releasing the ball so much quicker (a great help for referees) besides sorting out all those cheaters illegally retaining the ball on the ground (off their feet). Please go and share these common sensical thoughts with the boffins and experts of World Rugby,