Monday, July 7, 2014
The tragic death of Jordan Kemp 17 at the weekend is just one of many head trauma incidents but is a glimpse of a serious unfolding tragedy across all contact sport and for Jordan resulted in his untimely death.
Had Colin Slade been carrying the ball on Saturday night Maa Nonu would be in serious trouble for a no arms tackle.
The resulting contact with Slades' head that had his mouthguard travel meters was sickening in its ferocity yet completely within the current laws of Rugby.
League has removed the Shoulder charge from the allowable tackle methods, Football is concerned at the amount of cumulative brain trauma from heading the ball, Rugby has removed tip tackles, Skiers are increasingly employing helmets in recreational skiing, cyclists all wear helmets, boxing is causing serious rethinking.
It would be stupid to think all risk could or even should be removed from rugby but imho there is a growing problem
Cleaning out around rucks, body fends such as Nonu employed and other attacks to the head of players is building a plethora of largely avoidable brain injury victims that must be addressed and eliminated as far as possible.
In my playing days a fend was mandated to be with an open hand and yet still players were left wondering where they were and what happened.
No doubting Maa's legality or Colin's courage but how many of such contacts can be permitted to continue.
I have recently renewed contact with a school mate from 60 years ago who was tackled in trials for the first fifteen and the tackler died from a serious spinal trauma.
It is very likely that the post incident treatment afforded to that courageous young man, when viewed against all my first response training may very well have contributed to that tragic death but he, just as is Jordan Kemp, both still dead at 17.