School Rugby – Ban Tackles?

Should school Rugby be a contact sport?

Should tackles be banned from school rugby and the game changed to contactless Tag Rugby?

The debate is raging with both the Guardian and BBC giving extensive coverage in the last few days. Each side seems to have facts and figures to back up their argument:

Make School Rugby contactless

  • 63% of injuries in school rugby are from tackles.
  • 30% of school rugby players sustain one or more injuries.
  • Half of injured players need a month or more off school.
  • Children are not able to opt out of Rugby at school

Tag Rugby is unnecessary

  • There are more injuries in the playground.
  • If we ban contact rugby we’ll end up having no sport at all.
  • Great steps have been taken to make Rugby safer at school.
  • We need to ensure good quality training, not ban tackles.
  • If kids aren’t allowed to tackle until they’re 18 they will be even more dangerous when they start.

As Solicitors who specialise in cases of spinal injury we take this debate very seriously. There are enough examples of young lives changed forever after being injured on the Rugby field, whilst paralysis is a very rare potential outcome we have to ask if that level of risk can be justified in a junior sport.

One positive step would be to ensure that all school Rugby is voluntary and that parents can withdraw their child from this sport with no repercussions for the child.

This is clearly an important and difficult topic with strong views on each side. We’d love to read your thoughts in the comments below.

We are a back and spinal injury  specialist law firm. If you or a loved one has suffered a back or spinal ijnury you may be entitled to claim compensation for the injury and any consequential costs such as rehabilitation. You are welcome to contact us for a free, no obligation consultation. Please phone us on 0114 256 0111, or email us, or use the form on this page.


Best way to prevent spinal injury in elderly is to remain active

Best way to prevent spinal injury in elderly is to remain active

A recent study by Johns Hopkins university in America revealed that falls are the cause of over 40% of spinal injuries and that infants teenagers and over 65s are the most at risk. In addition 35% of brain injuries are caused by falls.

Elderly people face particular challenges and are at a greater risk of brain injury complications like bleeding on the brain after a fall. Dizziness, blood pressure issues, poor hand and foot co-ordination, multiple medications can all add to the risk of a fall for elderly people and this can lead to an understandable desire to limit levels of activity to the minimum.

But remaining active is actually often the very best way of avoiding a fall. Regular exercise, keeping your home clear of clutter and asking your doctor to review your medication to make sure they all interact well are all good ways to keep the risk of a fall low. Good lighting and making sure your vision is as good as possible are also very important.

If you are experiencing any issues with balance, co-ordination, dizziness or any other symptoms that affect your ability to remain active it is essential you contact your doctor’s surgery and discuss this with them.

Alex McKinnon’s rugby league career over after severe spinal injury

Rugby League was stunned at news that Newcastle forward Alex McKinnons career is over after suffering a severe spinal injury in a match with Melbourne on Monday 24 March 2014.

McKinnon was stretchered from the field in a neck brace after landing on his head in an awkward tackle by Melbourne forwards Jesse Bromwich, his brother Kenny and Jordan McLean.

Initial scans confirmed the dislocation of the c4 and c5 vertebrae but first the injury was thought to be limited with no damage to the spinal chord, however further scans revealed what was called ‘devastating spinal injury’.  Alex is in intensive care and has been place in an induced coma. It could take two years for him to achieve recovery.

Spinal injuries are said to be extremely rare in Rugby League and Newcastle Coach Wayne Bennet said that in more than 50 years of coaching he had never seen such an injury.

Aspire open new accessible home in Stone

Rt Hon John Bercow speaker of the House of Commons officially opened Vale of Aylesbury Housing Trust’s second Aspire House on Friday 24th March 2014. These house are especially designed for people with spinal cord injuries.

Brian Carlin, CEO of Aspire, commented: “We are excited to be working with The Vale of Aylesbury Housing Trust once again to open our second house in the area.  We now have 37 houses around the UK. Due to a lack of accessible housing, 89% of spinal injured people are forced to live in inaccessible accommodation after they leave hospital.  Aspire, with the assistance of housing associations around the country, helps people live an independent life by providing temporary homes with fully accessible features whilst their permanent accessible housing is arranged.”

There is a great lack of suitable housing in the UK for people with spinal injuries often resulting in people facing delayed discharge, being discharged in to nursing homes or having to go into unsuitable accommodation.

Aspire provides temporary accommodation whilst a more permanent solution can be arranged.

To find out more about Aspire and their work to support people with spinal injuries please visit the Aspire website

Run4Rob Day May 31

Sportsman Rob Cam had everything ahead of him, with a place at Uni, and a love of both Rugby and rowing, life was looking good for Rob.

run4robday fundraising for spinal injury

Young sportsman Rob Camm with family at Frenchay Hospital

Then in September 2013, after returning from travels in New Zealand and Australia, he was a passenger in a car that was involved in a road crash. He is now paralysed and in a wheelchair.

Rob suffered a high level C5 spinal injury in the accident and is now tetraplegic and on a ventilator.

Rob, 20, was a popular young man at Wycliffe College in Stonehouse and the entire school community are taking part in fundraising £20,000 which will help him realise his dream to take up that University place, where he plans to study Politics, Philosophy and Economics.

Old Wycliffians ,their families and current students and staff are doing many activities to raise funds, bungee jumping, rowing, an auction and there will be a special fund raising day on May 31st 2014 where many are planning to run or walk one of the designated routes of up to 26 miles laid on by Wycliffe College.

To take part in this or any of the other fund raising events please visit

Wings for Life World Run May 4th 2014

Max Evans, Scotland’s Rugby star is also an ambassador of Wings for Life, a foundation that funds research into curing spinal cord injury.

The charity means a lot to Max as his brother Thom, who is also a Wings for Life ambassador, was forced to end his career with a serious neck injury suffered while making his 10th appearance for Scotland.

“Tomorrow (Thursday) is the anniversary of Thom’s injury against Wales and he was one of the lucky ones, in some respects. He was very close to being paralysed,” he said.

“It’s an injury that can happen in any walk of life and there is more potential for injury outside of sport, such as traffic accidents and falls, so we want to raise awareness and funding because scientists do believe it is possible to cure spinal cord injury, and be able to regenerate nerve cells.

“There is a big run, the Wings For Life World Run, on May 4 which is 36 races around the world all starting at the same time (British race starts at 11am at Silverstone). There is no finish line.

“You start the race and about 30 minutes later there is a Catcher Car that starts – when it catches the last person that’s the race over. There will be a UK winner, a world winner and it’s exciting – a good idea to raise money and awareness.”

Turn Fish and Chips to cash for Spinal Injuries

The Spinal Injuries Associations is promoting a fun fund raising Fish and Chip Supper night to raise funds for their work.

“The Great British Fish and Chip Supper is all about getting together and having fun.

You can host a supper in your own home, in your workplace or even in your local community centre.

You may want to enjoy an evening out with friends in a local restaurant or pub and ask friends to bring along a donation.”

Last year the event raised £10,000

The event takes place on Friday 16th May 2014 and you can visit their website for more information, ideas for your fun supper and your 2014 fundraising pack.

Click here for more information about the Spinal Injuries Association:

Spinal cord injuries are on the rise, US researchers say

Car accidents are responsible for one in three spinal injuries in the USA and all Spinal injuries are on the rise in America according to a study from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Researchers studied the records of 43,137 adults treated for spinal chord injuries in the US between 2007 and 2009. They saw an increase in the number of injuries, particularly among older people and noted that one third of injuries were caused by motor vehicle accidents.

Michelin chefs to cook for Nicholls Spinal Injury Foundation

The top five chefs in the county will be joining forces for a spectacular charity event next month.

The event will take place at Chapter one Restaurant in Locksbottom Kent on March 17th 2014

All the proceeds from the seven-course event will be benefitting the charity which is particularly close to McLeish, the chef patron at Chapter One.

Daniel Nicholls, who the foundation is named after, was a weekend runner at Chapter One, in Orpington, before he was paralysed from the arms down after breaking his neck.

It happened in 2003 when he dived into a wave on Bondi beach in Australia and hit his head on an unseen sandbank beneath the water. His father David Nicholls also worked with McLeish earlier in his career.

“The charity is quite close to our hearts really,” said McLeish. “We all hear stories like this but I know the guy. It really brings it home. It was such a huge shock.”

Tickets for the event are £120pp, which  includes  wine paired with each course. To book contact Cheryl Almond via email, or by calling the restaurant on 01689 854 848.

Stem cell study in North Amercia

A stem cell study has started in the University of Calgary, North America, with a stem cell transplant being successfully performed on a spinal cord injury patient. Neural stem cells were injected into a 29 year old patient who will be monitored to find out if implanting these cells is safe.

If the procedure is found safe it may later be studied to see if it could be used to regenerate spinal nerve tissue, offering the possibility of some degree of recovery.

To read more and see a TV interview with Dr. Michael Fehlings, head of the spinal program at Toronto Western Hospital, and the University of Calgary’s Dr. Steven Casha, who performed the procedure.