in sports injuries at the University of Leicester have discovered evidence which
challenges the claim that 'body armour' has been a central reason for increased
injury rates in professional rugby.
studies claim that protective clothing has led players to tackle harder and so
incur more injuries.
However, researchers discovered that whilst padding and scrum-caps did
reduce minor injuries such as cuts and bruising, evidence from the players
demonstrates that few expect the equipment to protect them from serious injuries
such as concussion, broken bones and muscular strains.
some players feel constrained to play with slight injury because of loyalty to
team, fear of losing their place or monetary considerations the report, to be
published in the Sociology of Sport Journal by Dominic Malcolm and Ken Sheard of
the Centre for Research into Sport and Society, argues that the medical
provision provided in professional rugby is much more effective than 10 years
Malcolm said: "Despite the fact that under professionalism players are
willing to play with pain, they are less willing to play, and less likely to be
asked to play, with injuries that might be exacerbated by further exposure.
players feel constrained to play with slight, non-serious, injuries because of
loyalty to team, fear of losing their place and monetary considerations. Injury
rates are high - a premiership player stated that he thought about 90% of
players taking the field would be taped up, or have some bruising or slight 'niggle'.
Oral painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs are taken on a very regular basis.
But players are increasingly looking after their bodies and their long term
health. Compared to other sports, coaches and directors of rugby are
understanding and supportive of players in these matters."
started in September 2000 and is ongoing. Researchers have so far canvassed the
views of 42 players, coaches, doctor and physiotherapists involved in the game.
It also posed the question: Has body armour contributed to higher injury rates?
researchers state: "As far as we are concerned the jury is still out on
this issue. Most of our interviewees would agree that the increased speed of the
game, the growing size, fitness and strength of players, together with changes
to the game itself, means that the possibility of injury also increases.
they did not accept, on the whole, was that there was a correlation between the
increase in padding and increased injury. Most players did not believe that they
tackled harder because of padding, and while accepting that padding might reduce
bruising and training hazards, did not accept that it either provided protection
against more serious injury or encouraged its infliction."
TO NEWSDESK: For further details, please contact. Dominic Malcolm 0116 252 5939
- AVAILABLE FOR INTERVIEWS ON FRIDAY FEB 1 or email email@example.com
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