• Rugby Concussions and Link to Dementia in Advanced Years

    The safety nannies have come out in force once it was discovered that rugby injuries are becoming increasingly expensive with which to deal.

    New Zealand’s national game figures show that rugby danger continues to escalate, with the amount of money devoted to injury claims, at the amateur level, rising to more than $76 million in 2015. The rise since 2011 has totaled more than $338 million.

    The question is how do you make rugby safe?

    Head knocks have always been part of the game, but in the past, concussions were treated somewhat lightly as there was seldom any blood involved, or bones protruding through tissue.

    Increased awareness of the risk of dementia in years following sharp blows to the head whilst playing rugby are forcing rugby bosses and those who claim expertise in the area of head trauma to seek ways to lessen the risk.

    Seeking to establish a link betwixt concussion and dementia, New Zealand Rugby has enlisted Statistics NZ to compare the rate of dementia for rugby players from 1950 and 1970 to the rates for those who did not play.

    It is counterintuitive, but helmets do not seem to be the answer to the concussion issue. In the NFL, concussion rates are just as high as, or possibly higher than in rugby, which is thought to be the result of players developing a false sense of security, which leads to kamikaze head-on-head collisions.