World Rugby has rejected ‘extreme and alarmist’ claims made in a study that calls on scrums and tackling to be banned at schools level.
Writing in the British Medical Journal, Allyson Pollock and Graham Kirkwood from the Institute of Health at Newcastle University urged the UK’s chief medical officers to ‘put the interests of the child’ first and remove potentially harmful contact from the game.
They argued that removing collision is likely to ‘reduce and mitigate the risk of injury’ and said governments have a duty to ‘ensure the safety of children’.
But World Rugby questioned the data on which Pollock and Kirkwood based their claims.
‘World Rugby and its member unions take player safety very seriously and proactively pursue an evidence-based approach to reduce the risk of injury at all levels,’ a spokesman said.
‘The continual claims made by Pollock are not based on like-for-like injury statistics and her extreme and alarmist conclusions are simply not supported by the data. It is well documented that, for most sports, injury rates increase with age, but the quoted research mixes 9-12 with 18-20 age groups.’
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