Rugby and Dementia pugilistica…. an unfair cost on the health service

Update 6th Feb 2019. The Economist 26th Jan 2019: Knocking heads together – Few sports are doing enough to protect athletes from brain damage – Small rule changes can reduce concussions in rugby and American football

FANS OF LARGE men colliding with one another are in luck. Next weekend the Six Nations, a rugby contest for the best teams in Europe, gets going in Paris. Two days later the Super Bowl kicks off in Atlanta. Some 115 cameras will beam the final of the National Football League (NFL) to fans around the world, along with advertisements urging viewers to drink beer and eat nachos. It is not a time for healthy living. Yet there is growing awareness that it is not just gluttonous fans who suffer. Contact sports can lead to serious health problems for the players, too……

Update 14th April 2018: Tom Whipple in the Times May 8th Blow to head ‘can double dementia risk’

BBC News reports 18th November 2014: Dementia fears for rugby players, academic warns

Of the 164 people with high cynicism scores, 14 developed dementia

Multiple blows to the head from playing rugby may accelerate brain ageing and potentially lead to early dementia, according to a Welsh academic.

Prof Damian Bailey carried out research on 280 current and retired players.

The International Rugby Board (IRB) already accepts there could be a link between repetitive head injuries and long-term problems.

Prof Bailey’s work is yet to be published but could be the first study suggesting a clearer link.

The IRB said it would not comment until the study is published while the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU), which issued guidance on concussion in September, said it plans to meet Prof Bailey to discuss his research.

We know this is true about boxing (Dementia pugilistica), so why not rugby?

Professional Rugby: the price we all pay. Co-payments or insurance are needed..

This entry was posted in A Personal View, Stories in the Media on by .

About Roger Burns - retired GP

I am a retired GP and medical educator. I have supported patient participation throughout my career, and my practice, St Thomas; Surgery, has had a longstanding and active Patient Participation Group (PPG). I support the idea of Community Health Councils, although I feel they should be funded at arms length from government. I have taught GP trainees for 30 years, and been a Programme Director for GP training in Pembrokeshire 20 years. I served on the Pembrokeshire LHG and LHB for a total of 10 years. I completed an MBA in 1996, and I along with most others, never had an exit interview from any job in the NHS! I completed an MBA in 1996, and was a runner up for the Adam Smith prize for economy and efficiency in government in that year. This was owing to a suggestion (St Thomas' Mutual) that practices had incentives for saving by being allowed to buy rationed out services in the following year.

1 thought on “Rugby and Dementia pugilistica…. an unfair cost on the health service

  1. Pingback: Too many Rugby World Cup injuries? | NHS reality. An NHS soapbox. Speakers' corner for the NHS.

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