Concussion in Sport
Is sport heading towards concussion overhaul?
Rugby Union is facing up to a potential landmark group litigation action on concussion, with more than 70 ex-rugby players preparing to file lawsuits of governing bodies.
The action is brought about by their belief that there was systematic failure to protect players from the risk of concussion.
Steve Thompson, England Rugby veteran has recently stated that he can’t remember winning the world cup. Steve Thompson, who played hooker for the England 2003 Rugby world cup winning team has been diagnosed with early-onset dementia.
In an interview with The Guardian Newspaper, Thompson has said he can’t remember winning the world cup, would not want his own children to play the game and, heartbreakingly, admitted to regretting taking it up himself.
Rugby is not alone in this.
Heading a football should be restricted in the professional game and banned for those under the age of 18, according to one of the world’s leading experts on brain injuries.
Dr Bennet Omalu discovered the brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).
The condition has long-term effects and is caused by repeated head trauma.
“It does not make sense to control an object travelling at a high velocity with your head,” Dr Omalu said.
Heading a football just 20 times could lead to reduced brain function and signs of concussion, study finds. Heading a football just 20 times may lead to reduced brain function.
Concussion in football is not limited to heading the ball, We only need to go back a few weeks to see David Luiz and his clash with Raul Jimenez. David Luiz played on, albeit later substituted at half time, but sparked much debate as to whether the FA should implement a concussion substitute rule. It is thought this may alleviate clubs persisting with continuing to play players in danger of concussion.
Earlier this year (in February 2019) a report by the New York Hospital for Special Surgery found that concussion protocols were “ineffective” in two-thirds of matches in last summer’s World Cup.
Some might believe we should trust athletes to know enough about concussion these days to understand when they are OK to play on. However, this doesn’t take into account professional athletes burning desire to keep playing. The decision must be taken out of their hands.
Research, published in the Physician and Sportsmedicine, also found that around 0% of fighters reported returning to training or competition the same day they felt a concussion was sustained. Why? The main reasons given were a love of fighting, their career aspirations and a desire to win – a jumble of factors that might sound coherent in the heat of battle, but rather less so when long-term brain damage kicks in
We don’t need to look too far back to see an incident on one of Footballs biggest stage – The Champions League Final.
It emerged afterwards that Liverpool goalkeeper Loris Karius suffered a concussion early in the match. He famously went on to make two errors costing Liverpool the match. This was an example of how not taking these matters seriously enough can affect the on-field performance of the team.
The Rugby Union case could have huge repercussions for all sports.