Government drive to boost rugby in schools ‘too dangerous’

The BBC is reporting that public health doctors are warning that a government drive to boost participation in rugby in English schools is ‘ill-conceived and risks children getting seriously hurt’…

Prof Allyson Pollock and colleagues at Queen Mary University of London say the contact sport is too dangerous.

They do not want an outright ban but say the sport must change and safeguards are needed.

The Rugby Football Union said steps had been taken to make the sport safer.

It says the physical and social benefits the sport offers to children “massively outweigh any potential drawbacks”.

Ministers also want to see more children taking up sport.

In 2012, then Culture Minister Jeremy Hunt announced a plan to link up thousands of schools with rugby clubs.

But Prof Pollock fears there are not enough safety checks and measures to support this, meaning children could get hurt.

Each season, children have about a one in 10 chance of getting injured badly enough that they need at least seven days off the pitch.

Some injuries are minor, but others can cause permanent disability…

Prof Pollock says not enough is being done to put in place injury monitoring and prevention strategies – and little is known about what really works…


My son played rugby until a (non-rugby) injury stopped him this past season aged fourteen. He gets a lot out of it but there’s no doubt, when boys reach adolescence, the impacts can get very heavy.

The RFU claims the benefits “massively outweigh any potential drawbacks” – what do you think? Are they right or is the game – at least in its current form – too dangerous for schools?


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Categories: Health and Policy.


  1. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove Every activity has risks; nature of rugby is well known and people know what they are getting into. Individual choice surely

  2. SchoolsImprove

    andylutwyche I’m happy my son plays but when the team hit 13 it got a bit scary – some suddenly like men, others still little boys.

  3. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove I know, I played county rugby at under 15 against “boys” who were 6 foot+. Must admit I concentrated on football after that!

  4. ImSporticus

    andylutwyche SchoolsImprove As with anything we must try to minimise risk. Better facilities. More knowledgable coaches. Improved practice

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