In 1823, William Webb Ellis first picked up the ball in his arms and ran with it. And for the next 156 years forwards have been trying to work out why. - Tasker Watkins VC, LJ.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Sam Warburton and Concussion.

Much though I love the game, there are some elements of the modern game we could do without. Swan-diving wingers, jerseys that look like Jackson Pollock went mad in a paint factory, marketing campaigns. Oh, Lord, the marketing campaigns...

And against all these abominations in the sight of the Lord, we have long had The East Terrace, upholding the traditions of hooped jerseys and that no more celebration of a try is needed than an about turn and jog back to the halfway, fighting the good fight against the gathering darkness of fake tan and pre-try celebrations.

Which is why today's East Terrace was particular dispiriting.

It's HERE, and the article it refers to is HERE. It's poking fun at Sam Warburton for wearing a red scrum-cap.

The reason it's dispiriting is why Warburton is doing it. To quote him:
 I am definitely more of a target at the breakdown these days – I am getting a lot of elbows and knees. I am really getting smashed and I am getting headaches for a couple of days after games. That’s why I now wear a head guard – I have got a special red one for the Six Nations. [Emphasis added].
That's not funny. Those are concussion symptoms, persistent and lingering concussion symptoms, in a 23 year old. If you're getting headaches for a couple of days after the game, then something is wrong. I presume - I hope - that Sam Warburton is being monitored for this, and the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) are, unlike the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) (or, indeed, the IRB), applying the concussion regulations. I do know that head gear is unlikely to do anything to prevent concussions.

And I also know this; if even The East Terrace laughs these concussion symptoms, so do most long as the game laughs off concussion symptoms, so long will concussion not be taken seriously. And that means that, sooner or later, people like me - the lawyers - will have fun with the way that concussion regulations are not being applied by those with a duty of care to the players.

And, to quote Terry Pratchett: the strange thing about what lawyers have fun with is that no one else ever sees the joke.


  1. Hello, thanks for the mention! Just to make it clear, we are not mocking concussion on The East Terrace. Scrum caps have never been proven to prevent concussion by anyone. All they do is prevent abrasions (oh no, an abrasion!). If you have a young player with concussion problems it is a serious problem. He needs to take a break from the game and/or get treatment. In the worse case scenario he needs to stop playing completely. A few millimetres of foam does nothing other than give false confidence. False confidence in a player with head issues is NOT a good thing. The East Terrace suffered a few nasty concussions during its playing days (as well as the headaches/memory loss that can follow). So we have some idea about it. We worry when people think some foam on their head(with no scientific backing) will help them. That's where we were coming from. Oh, and they look really stupid. Especially red ones!

  2. That they do. Mind you, plain red aren't the worst. There's many a tiger-striped abomination out there that is enough to make one cringe. On the international SI Unit of Stern Silent Rugby Disapproval, the Meads (100 cMeads, or Pinetrees = One Meads), those sort of things on a back have to rate seveal hundred Pinetrees... Keep up the good work, gentlemen.

  3. In (ice) hockey, it took injuries to Sidney Crosby, a superstar barely out of his teens that his sponsors were building their entire hockey ad budget around, to get this stuff taken seriously. Which poor bastards are going to have their heads wrecked by insufficient monitoring post-games before somebody media-friendly enough gets done in?