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Concussions and Protecting Our Players


Peter Fenwicke (45)
As I said earlier on this page sport is for those thousands who play it at an amateur level not the select few hundred professionals. Lemons


Rod McCall (65)
What's the reasoning for banning competitive matches until 13?
I think it was to educate to kids that sport is more about participation than winning. Or something like that. Much like most clubs have done away with the ‘best player’ etc awards for these younger age groups. Also a lemon. Sport is about participation AND winning. Just like any field, only more so.
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Steve Williams (59)
What's the reasoning for banning competitive matches until 13?
There are some pretty strong developmental arguments for it - by removing the core competitive aspect it resets focus to learning and executing skills and understanding the game, rather than winning by size which can be a massive crutch in under age contact sport where there is so much variability. Otherwise the arguments are around, participation, inclusivity and general enjoyment that help the health of a sport overall, particularly at a community/grass roots level.

The hard part in all this about working out the right age to make the change over at, because there are also plenty of benefits to proper competitive sport, particularly in a team setting.


Peter Sullivan (51)
Having been around youth rugby and league with my son for nearly 10yrs now, I’m in two minds about removing the competition aspects.

I like having the competition for the kids. IMO learning how to win and lose is one of the things that makes sport valuable for kids.

It’s the parents - supporters and coaches - who ruin it. Who take it too seriously and forget that it’s just kids.


Stirling Mortlock (74)
13 seems far too late to introduce competitiveness. Maybe up until u9s lose it. I think winning/losing are pretty important.


Nicholas Shehadie (39)

I think these changes are the start only.

The smart move will be in trying to develop acceptable models and methods of playing.

When my son was in the U 11 I think it was, the team they were playing had this huge PI kid, given the boys lack of co-coordination and skinny frame he was in the right age bracket. He when in to tackle a boy from my son's team and was so awkward in the tackle I stress is was not a bad tackle or a tackle made with any malaise. The story is common I am sure to many, game was cancelled due the serious injury to the player from our side, I can still feel my wife's fingernails almost tearing a hole in my arm.

Next week, four boys parents withdrew their children from the team. It was only my son's stubbiness that stopped my wife withdrawing him.

I fully understand, the weight / age competition concepts but given whats know today and the often size difference between some kids change is going to happen either by our own hand were we can get some points for attempting to fix, or be forced upon us with our name dragged thu the mud, for having change forced upon us.

All sports will be effected where the head is used. I know roughly 15 to 20 years ago soccer banned heading the ball for U 12's [I think] both at training and in matches, which I think been increased to U15.

The issue is the Phil Gould's of the world need to be put back in their box. Anyone recall Gould's comments about the Newcastle Knights doctor and that the doctor did not understand Rugby League. AFL has similar folk as well as we do.

My thoughts is we either make changes and try to be ahead of the game or fight a losing resistance to inevitable changes.


John Eales (66)
I am very, very uneducated in these parts but is there any research that shows concussions for young kids lead to CTE? My general vibe was that it was repeated concussions sun stained because you're a professional who plays the game 30 times a year for 20 years.


Peter Fenwicke (45)
I am very, very uneducated in these parts but is there any research that shows concussions for young kids lead to CTE? My general vibe was that it was repeated concussions sun stained because you're a professional who plays the game 30 times a year for 20 years.
CTE is caused by repeated brain trauma, yes. The general idea is that if the traumas start at a younger age, their effects will present earlier. A quick google led me to a study which identified CTE in a 36yo who had a history of seizures and self-harm by way of repeatedly hitting his head against the wall as a child - an extreme case, but it lends weight to the above https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5491586/

Also worth remembering that CTE is only one of many neurodegenerative conditions, and traumatic brain injuries / head knocks have been long known to have adverse effects in both children and adults. Specifically with children, the issue is the the brain is still developing - a common belief was that this was actually favourable, as the brain still had a high level of plasticity and was able to adapt, but more contemporary research suggests this might not be the case.


Peter Fenwicke (45)


John Thornett (49)
The only viable way forward is for international agreement, not country-by-country regulation.

The women's football world cup saw vastly different treatment of head knocks across competing nations. Left to each national body to manage, we'll have the progressive risk managers being forced to act while pragmatic others continue with the status quo.

Perhaps there are strict rules around contact at training, continued focus on points of contact in games, and even a cultural and legal 'contract' that acknowledges the clear risk of lifelong injuries that can occur from the sport.

Dementia pugilisitica was described in 1928 and while boxing is arguably a shadow of its former selves, it's still here and commanding big money and focus from sporting media and fans.

The Ghost of Raelene

Paul McLean (56)

Take him out of the oven. He’s done