Time has come for rugby to assess health risks of monster hits

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Transformation of the game in two decades has been phenomenal

The physicality of the collisions in international rugby is breathtaking but so too the athletic prowess, as demonstrated here by Australia’s Kurtley Beale, who beats team-mate Israel Folau and Ireland’s Rob Kearney to the ball at the Aviva Stadium. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire.

One truth comes screaming out of this week’s debate about the use of strength-enhancing substances in rugby union: even the insiders are slightly bewildered by the speed at which the game has evolved and at the associated demands on its elite players. And that nobody is fully sure what the consequences are going to be.
The questions raised by the Irish sportswriter Paul Kimmage in his newspaper column and on the Seán O’Rourke radio show this week carry considerable clout given his dauntless quest to prove that Lance Armstrong, for a decade the white prince of professional cycling, was just another doper in a corrupt sport.
Rugby is enjoying a popular revolution and the packaging – including the slick television presentation, the modern stadia, the brilliantly marketed internationals, the old-school tie/upper-middle class tradition, the unwritten rule that every high-profile team should contain at least three or four vaguely handsome lads, the ripped physiques and the high velocity collisions – has turned the game into something like a religion for a broad cross-section of society……………. see more at :- http://www.irishtimes.com/sport/time-has-come-for-rugby-to-assess-health-risks-of-monster-hits-1.2036243

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