1. ITV Report

Experts call for a ban on children rugby tackling

Children playing rugby Photo: PA

Newcastle University experts warn steps need to be taken to ensure children's safety when they play the sport.

The call comes as their research reveals that serious injuries - including concussion - are most likely to be caused by rugby tackling and should be removed from school sport.

They are now calling on governments to protect children under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child by removing this avoidable harm.

The study, published today in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, re-examined a large body of existing evidence on the rates and risks of injuries in sport.

It came in response to an earlier article in the same journal by World Rugby employee Ross Tucker and colleagues which had put forward the case that rugby was no more injury prone than other sports.

In the new updated review, the Newcastle University study has found further evidence to support the recent call to remove tackling and other forms of harmful contact from school rugby.

We need to act now to protect our children from injuries from collision sports. Our evidence shows the high injury rate in rugby for children across all age groups.

There is also a consensus that collision sports including rugby have higher rates of injury than non-collision contact sports such as football. Rugby has the highest rate of concussion out of any youth sport.

We know other countries are taking this issue seriously and leading the way. Rule changes have been introduced in youth ice-hockey in Canada as this is the only proven method of quickly reducing the high rates of injury."

– Professor Allyson Pollock, Director of the Institute of Health and Society, Newcastle University