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Concussion: sports must “show they care about player welfare”

By Andy Knaggs    04 Apr 2019
Rugby is one sport that has started taking action on concussion / Shutterstock
Now is the time for sports to take the lead and show that they care about player welfare
– Andy Reed

For the sake of family members at risk of losing loved ones, and for the sake of individual sports themselves, it is time that concussion was taken seriously and measures were taken at all levels.

This is the call from Sports Think Tank founder and director Andy Reed in a Thought Leaders piece in Sports Management issue 4 2018.

The former Labour MP, chair of SAPCA (the trade association for the sports and play construction industry), and keen amateur rugby player, believes that the dangers of concussion need to be taken more seriously by sports organisations. Some sports, such as rugby with its Head Injury Assessment, are moving in the right direction. But a poll of Sports Think Tank members found that almost half (48per cent) don’t believe that the sector is doing enough to combat the issue.

“Our survey found that sports need to move much more towards prevention rather than just treatment,” he said. “In rugby, if the evidence suggests lowering the tackle area, then the authorities should follow suit.”

He said that the Labour Party has pledged to intervene, bringing the sports together and ensuring effective standards are introduced at all levels.

“This last point is key,” Reed continued. “Although we have seen major improvements in player welfare at the professional level in some sports, the level of knowledge at grassroots and schools needs improving. I’ve seen too many incidents at grassroots rugby that are still laughed off as they always were.”

Apart from the physical danger to individuals, the danger for all sports is that a lack of action will lead to informed parents and consumers making up their own minds and walking away from sports that they perceive as dangerous, he pointed out.

“Now is the time for sports to take the lead and show that they care about player welfare,” he concluded.

To read the full article see Issue 4 2018 of Sports Management here

concussion  Andy Reed  Sports Think Tank  SAPCA  rugby  Labour Party  grassroots sport  player welfare 
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