My problem with rugby isn’t that it’s dangerous, it’s that it’s relatively boring.
Oh! It’s not great, but it’s certainly better than american football. I have on at least one occasion watched an entire game of rugby, which is more than can be said for Cricket, American Football, and Baseball. The only sports I can consistently watch entire games of are real football and curling.
At the risk of being called pedantic, isn’t that the very similar Australian Rules Football? Regardless, they’re both fun to watch.
On topic, I’ve heard the same “take away the face mask” in hockey to reduce injuries (goalie excluded, of course); by doing so everyone will be more careful with their sticks. Seems foolish to me, but perhaps something can be learned from rugby. Could be that I dislike the idea because Don Cherry said it.
It’s amazing to me that there aren’t a lot more lower-body injuries the way these guys collide; I know they’re all in top shape and are following rules promoting safe place, but still… ouch!
From my admittedly not at all expert viewpoint, the main differences between rugby and American football are the degree of armouring, the specialisation of positions and the frequency of stoppages in play.
In my view it is the latter two that are more significant than the degree of armour allowed.
American football seems to stop play constantly. Entire teams are rotated on and off the pitch at various points depending on what is going on. Players exist to play a few seconds at a time, executing a limited number of tasks.
Play in rugby (to varying degrees depending on code) continues for longer periods in one go with significantly greater likelihood that say a prop forward may end up having to run around the pitch for 10-15 minutes without stopping other than to tackle someone, pick themselves up and do it again on the other side of the pitch.
Therefore all-round fitness is slightly more important than in American football where for example, the ability to exert maximum force over one or two metres of ground may be far more important than whether that person can run the length of the pitch at that speed or do anything other than block or tackle.
Every position in rugby may (and probably will be) called on to perform all of the skills in rugby (running, passing, tackling, kicking, gathering the ball from the ground, rucking, mauling, catching the high ball).
We’ll leave out the various technicalities of scrummaging and the line-out since league doesn’t have these.
League (much as it pains me to say it) tends to require more all-round skills from its players which is why there tends to be a much smaller degree of variation in body shapes in league than in union.
This tends to restrict player size and weight since the number of giants that can also run really fast for more than short periods, be agile and skilled with their hands is more limited (and they can just play basketball far more safely ).
Despite this player sizes are increasing and so are collision speeds and therefore concussions and other serious injuries.
The armouring is more a consequence of the injury risks than a contributor. Players will happily bash into each other without armour - rugby proves that. They may be more prepared to do so if they think they will get away it thanks to padding, etc. but not much more so.
In short, rugby-style padding will not solve the concussion problem.
I don’t think there is a way to solve it short of entirely changing the games.
Applies to any risky sport that requires training from a young age. My personal guilty pleasure is motorcycle Gran Prix racing. Top level kids are racing professionally at 15 and all of them have titanium in their collarbones by the time they’re done.
Personally, I’d go further and say that Olympic athletic competition shouldn’t be international until age 25. Then training wouldn’t be only about besting, but also preserving yourself to that ripe old age to compete.
Be careful you don’t fit the data to a predetermined conclusion. I don’t think the NFL could possibly care less what color a concussed player’s skin is.
Of course, I’ve had more concussions than I can count, so maybe my opinions should not be considered…
small nit pick, that’s Aussie rules football. A completely punch orientated sport. If an Aussie punches you, you will now know why.
Rugby league is most likely the version you are thinking of, matches may(not always) devolve into lots of kicking and poor ball movement. it happens, not every American football game is a thriller.
Rugby union is an alternative, slightly different rules and a kind of “down” system can speed things up.
or you can go for the basketball of rugby, sevens
oh look I shoehorned Canada into something, neat.
I still have the trophy somewhere from the Grand Final I won as a nine year old (Campbelltown Collegians Australian Rules Football Club, 1984 season; I played rover).
To clarify, I was suggesting AFL as a superior alternative to rugby, after someone else suggested rugby as an alternative to American football.
upon further inspection I scrolled right by that
Basically the NFL is a modern-day version of the gladiator tournaments of old, the primary difference being that nowadays the people sacrificing their lives for our entertainment don’t die right away.
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