A sociological perspective into children’s rights and concussion in school rugby union.

Blewitt, Ben (2018) A sociological perspective into children’s rights and concussion in school rugby union. Undergraduate thesis, University of Chichester.

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Abstract

Background: Injuries to children playing rugby are common, and very often result
in serious consequences. The tackle has been consistently found to be the most
injurious event in all forms of rugby and is responsible for most concussions. In order
to reduce and mitigate risk of injury to children, advocates recently called on the UK
government to remove the tackle and other forms of harmful contact from school
rugby. In response, opponents to changing the current structure of school rugby
rebuffed the call as they believe the risk of injury (and concussion) is strongly linked
with poor tackle technique, and consequently, children need to learn correct tackle
technique within school environments. No previous study has explored PE teacher’s
perspectives towards Children’s Rights and concussion in school rugby. Therefore,
this study’s primary aim was to examine a diverse range of PE teacher perspectives
into Children’s Rights and concussion in school rugby, namely the call to ban
tackling in school rugby. In addition, with the use of a structured online survey, this
study also aimed to reveal the current state and status of school rugby.
Methods: A mixed method research design was used to examine the key
characteristics of school rugby. An online survey was emailed to 162 schools in the
South of England with the aim of gathering data relating to rugby procedures in
schools. Following receipt of the survey, four practising male PE teachers (N=4) aged
27 ± 3 years were randomly selected and invited to participate in an in-depth
interview. To increase the diversity of participants, the PE teachers were selected
from both state and independent schools.
Results: The final survey sample consisted of 37 schools. 26% of all PE teachers had
not completed any rugby training at all. The majority of schools (81%) reported rugby
as compulsory during PE lessons, with tackling being required in 81% of schools.
Very few schools followed GRTP protocols correctly, with 22% of schools not
implementing any form of concussion policy whatsoever. Furthermore, survey results
suggest schools rarely record and/or monitor rugby injury data. Similarly, during
interviews the PE teachers suggested; 1) trainee teachers lack the essential skills and
knowledge to effectively teach rugby in schools safely or effectively, 2) few educational
initiatives regarding concussion are made available to children, parents or other
school teaching staff, 3) rugby culture compels children, especially older and more
experienced players, to tolerate pain and injuries whilst playing rugby in schools,
and 4) PE teachers are divided about whether tackling should be banned in school
rugby.
Conclusion: School rugby currently poses unacceptable risks to children’s health,
wellbeing and rights. It is unsafe to allow school rugby’s current situation to continue
and consequently the UK government should consider taking action to remove the
tackle from school rugby as a precautionary measure. However, rather than banning
tackling entirely, the UK government could consider implementing this study’s
‘compromised approach’ to ensure Children’s Right remain paramount and
safeguarded at all times.

Item Type: Thesis (Undergraduate)
Additional Information: BA (hons)Physical Education and Sports Coaching
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure > GV201 Physical education and training
L Education > L Education (General)
Divisions: Departments > Physical Education and Sports Coaching
Undergraduate Dissertations
Depositing User: Ann Jones
Date Deposited: 09 Jan 2019 11:50
Last Modified: 09 Jan 2019 11:50
URI: http://eprints.chi.ac.uk/id/eprint/4069

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