Let’s get one thing clear: rugby has come a very long way since the dark old days when players – coaches and fans used to treat brain damage as a joke.
Whether through fear of litigation – media pressure or a genuine interest in protecting player’s health – or more likely a combination of all three – rugby’s authorities have raised their collective game over the past five year when it comes to dealing with concussion.
Laws have been changed – protocols enhanced – medics empowered – players educated.
It may or may not be coincidence that this has coincided with an avalanche of new evidence linking repetitive head injuries to early on-set dementia – or indeed a $1billion settlement paid out by the NFL to former gridiron stars suffering from a neurological disease believed to be chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) – but progress has undeniably been made.
Rugby is on the right path now.
But being on the right path doesn’t mean the job is done.