A tragedy in Northern Ireland has raised the issue of education in regards to concussion treatment and management at the grass roots level in rugby. Ben Robinson a fourteen year old died after suffering multiple concussions through the course of a rugby game. He had been involved in several high impact collisions and at one point was lying on the pitch for over one minute receiving treatment. Upon being helped to his feet he was given the all clear to continue playing rather than being substituted. He then suffered a subsequent collision that caused him to collapse; he died later that day in hospital. This tragic event could have been prevented if officials and players were educated about concussions and their symptoms.
Ben’s father has been speaking to the IRB (International Rugby Board) as well as local and national Rugby Football Unions, and school boards in an effort to introduce compulsory education in the school curriculum regarding the symptoms, dangers and treatment of concussions. He has managed to garner support from several doctors that believe the only way to create a safer environment in high contact sports is to educate the youth from the grass-roots level on the dangers of concussions. This is comparable to what was said in a media analysis today regarding the NFL and head shots. The only way to create a safer environment is through education, the NFL need to educate young players on changing their tackling technique and rugby needs to educate their young players on the symptoms and dangers of concussions. A former IRB medical adviser wants mandatory concussion awareness training for all grassroots rugby coaches and players. I could not agree more, such incidences should not be taking place in today’s information abundant world. It is my belief that education and inclusion of mandatory concussion awareness training in schools and clubs is the only option to stop more kids suffering the same fate as Ben Robinson.