A lifelong hater of Rugby, Professor Allyson Pollock of Queen Mary College London has gathered together 70 doctors and academics calling for rugby in schools to be played without tackles or scrums, without physical contact. They cite data which the media - notably BBC Radio 4 - is just too lazy to expose as utterly bogus.
Prof Pollock has calculated that from a sample she has taken a student playing 15 rugby matches in a season has a 28% chance of being injured. Most injuries, she asserts, come from impact collissions. And so she thinks that if 1 million kids start playing rugger as the RFU and IRFU want, across Britain and Ireland, there will be 300,000 unneccessary injuries a year.
So the quacks and teachers want folks to play contact free rugby until they are 18. As someone who played from 11 to 33 and a bit thereafter, I ask what is the point? That is the challenge made by John Humphries on Radio 4 today and by the mainstream media in general. And it is a fair one but had they not been quite so lazy they might have also picked this silly bint up on her data and just put her and the lazy doctors and lefty fun-hating academics to the sword at once.
Data from the biggest US study of students playing inter-school sports from 11 to 18 showed that during one season 25% of baseball players would get injured with 45% feeling severe arm pain. 22% of soccer players would also pick up an injury. It reckoned that of the 7 million kids playing inter-school sports in the 2005-6 season 1.4 million (that is 20% ) would pick up an injury.
The fact is that sport is always something that causes injury. In my rugby career I was concussed twice and played on knowing that if I got a third concussion Id call it a day. I suffered really bad ankle injuries. But the same ankle also got scorched playing basketball.
If Prof Pollock wants to stop the 300,000 injuries the only way is just to ban sport full stop. Wrap the kids up in cotton wool, give them vast amounts of Dunkin Donuts to eat and Karl Marx to read and no-one is going to get injured at all. What a brave new world that would be.