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Reviews Personal views

Rugby union should ban contested scrums

BMJ 2006; 332 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.332.7552.1281 (Published 25 May 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;332:1281

Rapid Response:

A sense of perspective is required

Whilst not wishing to diminish or trivialise the injuries sustained
by players
who have sustained such significant injuries during rugby union scrums, or

fall into the arguments that such a move would radically change the sport,

and turn it, effectively, into rugby league, I believe there are bigger
issues
about risk-taking in society raised by this article.

I would like to ask the author how many patients he has looked after
who
have been rendered paralysed, or indeed have died, due to motor vehicle
collisions, or accidents in various other sports, including motorcycle
racing or
boxing for example? I am sure that sports such as these account for more
fatalities or serious injuries than rugby union. Thusfar, there are no
proposals to abolish the use of motor vehicles, or indeed bicycles, as
means
of transport due to the risk of serious injury or death, nor to outlaw
those
sports.

How many playing hours have occured during the 30 year period of time

referred to in the article? This is important to present a sense of
context to
the incidence of the injuries. I suspect that on this basis the incidence
is
quite low, but am prepared to be corrected.

There is a need in society to accept that living is a risky business
on many
levels, and it is neither desireable nor possible to fully eliminate these
risks.
Attention would be better focussed on adressing those risks to which
people
are forcibly exposed, through oppression or circumstance, rather than
those
to which people choose to expose themselves freely.

Competing interests:
None declared

Competing interests: No competing interests

26 May 2006
Mark R Savage
Medical Student
East Anglia