Intended for healthcare professionals

Reviews Personal views

Rugby union should ban contested scrums

BMJ 2006; 332 doi: (Published 25 May 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;332:1281

Consider the evidence

Firstly, I agree that spinal injury is devastating and the risk of it
occuring minimalized. I doubt if this would ever be possible in the
context of a contact sport. Let us consider the following:

1) All available studies show that the greatest incidence of all
injuries occurs in the tackle phase of the game. Does this mean it should
be banned?

2) Rucks and Mauls, integral to the Union code also account for a
large number of injuries. These situations are often uncontrolled and
highly dangerous with boots and bodies flying. Should these be removed
from the game?

3) One of the biggest established risk factors for injury is reckless
or illegal play. Something which can never be removed from any contest.

On a personal note, as a player for the past 10 years and more
recently a coach, the two neck injuries I have witnessed were both the
result of foul play and neither were scrummage related. Personal
experience is no substitute for a proper inury survey.

Competing interests:
None declared

Competing interests: No competing interests

31 May 2006
Philip H Brown
Medical Student
University of Liverpool L693BX