Thursday, 24 January, 2019

Eddie Jones' controversial training methods exposed by alarming England Rugby report

England winger Jonny May is assessed Concussion and head injuries are subject to protocols which seek to prevent further damage
Cassandra Castillo | 10 January, 2019, 11:10

The Professional Rugby Injury Surveillance Project (PRISP) has reported that while concussion injuries are down on last year - one fewer concussion every eight games - it is both the most common and highest burden match injury for the third consecutive year.

The document, produced in conjunction with Premiership Rugby and the players' association, showed the incidence of injuries during England on-pitch training was more than double the average over the analysis period. Wasps flanker Sam Jones was forced to retire a year ago after suffering a catastrophic broken leg during a judo session with England in 2016.

"When the data collected over the past five seasons is combined, the incidence of match injuries on natural grass and artificial turf are not different", the report continued.

"We obviously discussed the situation at the PGB a few months ago and what we did as a result of that was look at the transition of players from their club environments into the global environment", said RFU acting chief executive Nigel Melville.

"Obviously worldwide rugby is played at a greater intensity so training is at a greater intensity, so we are trying to manage that transition", he told journalists. Nathan Soyeux, a 23-year-old student, passed away in Dijon on Monday after suffering injuries in a game in November. "We are halfway through the trial so can't report on its effect on concussion yet".

Addressing the issues raised by the latest PRISP report, Kemp said: "You are three times more likely to get a yellow card for a deliberate knock on than a high tackle around the world".

"However, the severity of match injuries on artificial turf is greater than that on natural grass, with an injury sustained on artificial turf lasting, on average, nine days more than one sustained on natural grass (natural grass, 30 days; artificial turf, 39 days)".

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With collisions in the modern game getting harder, faster and stronger, it is clear that medics, officials, players and coaches need to work together to ensure safety in the sport.

Overall, 38 per cent of injuries during the 2017/18 season occurred in training sessions, with concussion the most frequent in full-contact sessions.

In terms of number of days missed due to training field injuries, England under Jones last season were six times worse than at any time under Lancaster.

A spokesman for World Rugby said the governing body particularly welcomed the reduction in concussions, saying in a statement: "We will continue to collaborate with all unions and global players on evidence-based solutions to mitigate injury risk as demonstrated via the wide-ranging programmes being implemented in 2019".

There had not been enough time to properly judge if the lower tackle height trial had reduced concussions in the Championship Cup.

England rugby's medical services director Simon Kemp said: "The data suggests that more significant changes to the game might be needed to reverse these trends".

Concussion accounted for 18% of all injuries to the ball carrier and 37% of all injuries to the tackler, highlighting the tackle as the key game event to consider when developing concussion and all injury reduction strategies.

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