World Rugby launches brain health education campaign for elite players


Rugby Union – Autumn International – Ireland v New Zealand – Aviva Stadium, Dublin, Republic of Ireland – November 13, 2021 General view of the rugby balls before the REUTERS / Clodagh Kilcoyne match

Nov. 17 (Reuters) – World Rugby on Wednesday launched an education campaign to raise awareness of brain health in sports and set up a network of free brain health clinics for former elite players.

The Brain Health Initiative, supported by national unions and the International Rugby Players’ Association, includes an educational video where independent experts describe 12 risk factors for dementia.

These include lack of physical activity, lack of social contact, depression, heart disease, brain damage, and heavy drinking.

A group of former rugby players filed a class action lawsuit against World Rugby and other governing bodies in December, alleging that their failure to protect them resulted in an early onset of dementia.

“I have been saddened by the recent and courageous accounts from former players about their experiences. As a former player myself, I understand that some players may be concerned about their brain health,” said the chairman of World Rugby, Bill Beaumont, captain of England and the British and Irish Lions.

Beaumont said providing high-quality care and support by setting up clinics around the world would allow members of the rugby family to get better education on brain health.

“It’s about building community, starting conversations and understanding how we can all make lifestyle changes that can have a positive impact on our long-term well-being,” added Beaumont.

World Rugby also announced guidelines this year limiting full contact training to 15 minutes per week.

Reporting by Hritika Sharma in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond

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