Players ‘guinea pigs’ for concussion

Veteran Brumbies winger CLYDE RATHBONE, writing on the Sydney Morning Herald, is concerned about the lack of attention to the long-term effects of head trauma.

Rathbone, who has 26 caps for Australia, feels that rugby players are often the ‘guinea pigs’ for head traumas in professional sport.

‘Concussion has become a dirty word among sports teams, often substituted for the now popular euphemism ''head knock''. Despite this, retirements from brain trauma are rare in rugby – although they do occur.’

Rathbone says that while the IRB is implementing a new two-step concussion test that will help determine whether a player is fit to return to play or not, it doesn’t identify the long-term problem.

‘While it's useful that the link between brain injury and contact sports is becoming less blurred, what's being revealed is not comforting.

‘Increasingly, studies are linking chronic traumatic encephalopathy [CTE], a form of progressive degenerative disease, with contact sports. Some of the symptoms of CTE include memory loss, aggression, confusion and depression. Alarmingly, the onset of the disease can be so gradual as to not appear for decades.’

Read Rathbone’s full column

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