Rugby is a contact sport that can cause serious injuries, including concussions. A study examining the effects of concussion on cognitive function found that some players’ brains showed signs of brain damage after just one season.
The world rugby concussion is a study that says players’ cognitive function can decline after one season. It also suggests that there are certain risk factors for injuries in the sport, including lack of sleep and high-intensity training.
Shane Williams, Wales’ all-time top try scorer, produced a documentary on concussion in 2020.
According to a recent research, one season of professional rugby may be enough to cause a decrease in a player’s blood flow to the brain and cognitive performance.
The University of South Wales study tracked a professional rugby team throughout the season, assessing players before, during, and after the season.
It will be published in the Journal of Experimental Physiology on Wednesday, September.
A squad competing in the United Rugby Championship was monitored by researchers.
They claim that further study into the long-term consequences is required.
A squad of professional rugby players observed a decrease in blood flow to the brain and cognitive function – the capacity to reason, recall, create ideas, and do mental gymnastics – after only one season, according to their research, which was viewed exclusively by the.
The study also indicates that, rather than just concussions, repeated collisions or subconcussions experienced during rugby have contributed to the players’ deterioration.
Shane Williams, a former Lions and Wales player who had head injuries while playing, believes that the danger of a player being hurt rises when they are fatigued.
He has joined demands for a cap on substitutions, claiming that more fresh players on the field might do greater harm.
This new research comes as 200 former players, both Welsh and English, male and female, professional and amateur, have filed a lawsuit against the game’s governing organizations, World Rugby, the Welsh Rugby Union, and the Rugby Football Union, with the help of Rylands Law company.
Some of the former athletes have been diagnosed with early-onset dementia, and they say that the authorities neglected to safeguard them from the dangers of concussions and brain injuries.
“World Rugby has pledged to increase our commitment in player welfare and new concussion research and initiatives,” according to World Rugby.
‘Has my memory been harmed as a result of the drugs I’ve taken?’
Former international player for Wales Shane Williams is a professional basketball player.
Williams, a former Wales winger, suffered several heavy blows and head impacts throughout his career, none more so than a pounding but legal tackle by Bakkies Botha of South Africa in 2004.
“I didn’t realize I wasn’t feeling well until I came back to the hotel many hours later,” he told the.
“I believe it was one of the biggest hits I’ve ever taken.”
“Getting dressed afterwards was a blur – seeing the players, seeing family members in the stadium afterwards, I don’t remember – it was almost like I’d blacked out for a few of hours and the next thing I’m back at the hotel, sitting in the lobby thinking, ‘Gosh, what happened there?’”
Williams has questioned if the game has damaged his brain as a result of the effects he’s experienced over the years.
“I’m constantly wondering whether my memory has worsened as a result of my age. I’m always writing stuff down anyhow – is it because I’m getting older? Is it because I’ve taken a lot of blows throughout the years, or is it something else? “he said
Head Injury Assessments, or HIA procedures, which are now standard on the field of play to assist determine if a player has had a concussion, were not implemented until 2015.
If the same event occurred today, Williams believes he would have removed himself off the field knowing what he now knows.
“I believe education is a huge part of it; if I’d been struck like that today, I’d have recognized something wasn’t right right away,” he added.
“‘Would I have altered the way I played, or would I not have played?’ many still wonder. I wouldn’t have since I was playing a game that I loved.”
What does the latest research reveal?
One of the report’s authors is Professor Damian Bailey.
According to some studies, professional rugby players are subjected to 11,000 contact events each season, and more research is starting to reveal indications that concussions alone may not be the only factor affecting the brain, but the cumulative effect and number of contact events as well.
Over the course of a year, the peer-reviewed University of South Wales research, which was sponsored by the Royal Society Wolfson Research Fellowship, documented six concussion occurrences among all of the participants.
Between pre- and post-season findings, however, all of those participating in the research observed a decrease in blood flow to the brain and cognitive performance.
The team in question competes in the United Rugby Championship (previously the Pro14) and has been kept anonymous to comply with research governance standards.
“Even over a short period of time, we’re finding a higher rate of deterioration in brain function from rugby players,” said one of the study’s authors, Professor Damian Bailey.
“And we’re presuming our baseline is a normal healthy baseline, but many of these gamers have already spent a lot of time playing the game, so that baseline is most likely still affected.”
A connection between an increase in contact quantity, playing position, and the pace of decrease on the major measures examined was also discovered.
“We’re finding a higher degree of damage compared to the backs because the forwards are engaged in more contact,” Prof Bailey said.
Can any parallels be made between the professional level and grassroots? This study focuses on one team of professional players over the course of one season.
Professional players, according to Prof Bailey, have less time to heal and mend, have considerably larger physiques, and possibly greater effects as a consequence of contact, yet amateurs may have arguably worse technique and be putting themselves in danger as a result.
“It’s tough to tell,” he added, “but we don’t see why it would be that drastically different.”
“The larger issue, and what drives our study, is to look into the future and get a sense of what the long-term implications of this recurring interaction will be.”
“We have every reason to assume that the negative consequences will compound over time.”
A similar research is being conducted by the university team, which will compare current and former rugby players to a control group to see whether there is a quicker rate of deterioration in brain function among rugby players. They claim that further study into the long-term consequences of such a decrease is required.
According to the RFU, training accounts for 20% of all concussions at the professional level.
Measures have been put in place in the NFL in the United States to restrict the amount of contact during training and between training sessions, something that a number of former rugby players have advocated for.
Others, like as Williams, argue that limiting contact in training is difficult since excellent technique also minimizes injuries.
Former players have asked for replacements to be used only if players are injured, which Williams thinks would be beneficial, coupled with education.
“When it comes to ‘finishers’ [replacements], I think the game has evolved,” he added.
“You’ve got 21-stone guys on the field when the players are weary, and you’re more likely to be hurt when you’re tired.”
“However, another important aspect for me is teaching the athletes so that they are aware of these issues when they occur.”
World Rugby, the sport’s governing body, said it is doing study into the problem of replacements and injuries.
Head Injury Assessments are provided to players to check for concussions.
What does World Rugby have to say about it?
“World Rugby encourages any studies that may educate and support our newly announced strategyexternal-link to establish rugby as the most advanced sport on player welfare,” the sport’s governing body said in a statement in response to the University of South Wales study.
“As a sport, it is at the core of what we say and do.”
“We just pledged to increase our commitment in player welfare and new concussion research and initiatives at World Rugby.”
“We’re currently conducting a wide-ranging evaluation of contact training volume across the game, and we’re looking forward to the findings of the ongoing Otago Rugby Community Head Impact Detection study, which is the largest study of playing and training head impacts in men’s and women’s community rugby and uses instrumented mouthguards.”
The Otago research is expected to be completed soon, according to the organization.
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