The International Sports Sciences Forum (ISSF, iss-forum.net) today called for the strong enforcement of the crackdown on high tackles – neck and head contact – in Rugby League, Rugby Union and Australian Football.
Forum Founder and General Convener, Enrique TOPO Rodriguez, a former international Rugby Union player who represented his native Argentina, South America, Tahiti, and subsequently in 1984 when he arrived in Sydney was selected and invited to play for Australia, said it was medically proven that ‘there is no such thing as a safe, violent blow to the head’.
“The ISSF fully endorses the ‘crackdown’ on high tackles by NRL referees over the weekend,” said Mr. Rodriguez.
“I appeal to the common sense of the whole of the sporting public, coaches, administrators, sponsors, players and particularly to the media (TV, Radio and Print) who make their everyday living out of this ‘sport-show-business’ to stop criticizing the NRL Commission’s crackdown simply because you are not the ones buying or going to finance the health & wellbeing of athletes.”
The ISSF last month called for a radical overhaul of the current concussion rules and regulations of contact sport for the long-term health of players, both men and women, the game and society.
“Undue violence in sport requires urgently a ‘harmonised approach’ as a way-out of this worldwide multi-sport crises,” said Mr. Rodriguez. (Ref. Alexandra Veuthey, Libra Law, Lausanne, Switzerland).
“We are at the cross-roads on the issue. Most sporting codes have concussion policies, but these are dealing with the issue at the wrong end of the health spectrum. Policies need to be in place to prevent the concussion (from juniors up) not just treat it after it has occurred.”
Mr. Rodriguez said all research was now showing the long-term negative effect of high tackles on players in contact sport.
He endorsed the call by Australian Rugby League Commission Chairman Peter V’landys for the NRL to eliminate any contact above the shoulders.
“The Commission made a clear decision this season to remove high tackles from the game and this brings them into line with the AFL and Rugby Union,” said Mr. Rodriguez.
“However, all three codes need to get ‘on side’ with medical science and the health and welfare of the players.