NRL- Is the rugby league too risky for players? (Part 1)

After Newcastle’s Alex McKinnon neck broke during the March lift, some pundits and parents asked whether football was too dangerous for youngsters, amateurs-and even experts-to play safely. So is McKinnon’s injury a weird thing, or is it a fair game mishap?

In any collision sport, accidents are a relatively normal and inevitable part of the game

The risk of injury in a rugby league needing hospital attention is about 40 injuries per 1,000 hours of playtime. This differs from the level of play (professional vs. club, teen vs. kids, etc but generally increases as the level increases.

Early injury statistics suggest that tendon and joint fractures are the most frequent in rugby, usually in the leg. 

Many recent data suggest that head and neck injuries are most frequent. This was probably the product of game rules changes (e.g. advising the defenders to back 10 meters, promoting the fixer to strip during handling) combined with an improved focus on Stroke-more players are interested in the game than swung in an attempt to slow down the game.

Young players see seasoned players make illegal attacks and do not feel that handling is an appropriate part of the game. Unfortunately, their junior rivals could not have predicted or planned this kind of settlement, nor do they have the ancient strength of high-end teams.

Skilled players are now becoming larger, quicker and tougher, leading to greater impact and improved rehabilitation to bring players back to the game sooner.

How is it relative to other sports? 

It is impossible to compare injury statistics, since there are variations between the concept of injury, the mode of monitoring and the period of time over which injury records are reported. 

Probably the most detailed documentation comes from the New Zealand Injury Liability Board (ACC), which tracks all sporting accidents that need treatment. These reports show 41 mild to back fractures/dislocations and spinal injuries over a five-year stretch.

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