Deny­ing safety in­struc­tions is dan­ger­ous

The Irish Times - Monday - Sport - - Rugby - Johnny Wat­ter­son

Deny­ing chil­dren safety in­struc­tions in rugby tack­ling un­til they are 18 is dan­ger­ous non­sense, right? Well the Amer­i­can Academy of Pe­di­atrics, in a pol­icy state­ment on tack­ling in Amer­i­can youth foot­ball in 2015, sug­gests as much.

“De­lay­ing the age at which tack­ling is in­tro­duced to the game would likely de­crease the risk of th­ese in­juries for the age lev­els at which tack­ling would be pro­hib­ited,” it says.

“Once tack­ling is in­tro­duced, how­ever, ath­letes who have no pre­vi­ous ex­pe­ri­ence with tack­ling would be ex­posed to col­li­sions for the first time at an age at which . . . in­jury risk is higher. Lack of ex­pe­ri­ence with tack­ling and be­ing tack­led may lead to an in­crease in the num­ber and sever­ity of in­juries once tack­ling is in­tro­duced. There­fore, if reg­u­la­tions that call for the de­lay­ing of tack­ling un­til a cer­tain age are to be made, they must be ac­com­pa­nied by coaches of­fer­ing in­struc­tion in proper tack­ling tech­nique . . .” A dif­fer­ent game maybe, but the same prin­ci­ple ap­plies to rugby. Catas­tro­phe at 18-years-old.

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