POLL: Should tackling be banned in schools rugby?

Independent.ie Newsdesk

With a growing number of leading doctors and academics urging authorities to ban tackling in school rugby, is a change in the game's rules imminent?

70 leading doctors and academics from the UK and the US wrote to health and child welfare officials here urging them to do so and Trinity College psychology professor Dr Sabina Brennan, who is director of the college's dementia research programme, said there was a growing body of scientific evidence that shows repeated head injuries and concussions sustained by children while playing contact sports like rugby can lead to life-long impairment of brain function and dementia in later life.

"This isn't cotton wool parenting. We need to err on the side of caution," she told the Irish Independent. "It's more than an accident waiting to happen."

However, a man left paralysed after breaking his neck in a school rugby match has said the "key element" of contact should not be removed from the sport.

Down native David Ross was just 18 when he suffered a broken neck and ended up in a wheelchair after a number of players fell on top of him during a ruck.

But he does not blame the sport that he loves for his injuries, instead attributing them to a "freak accident".

The 21-year-old now plays wheelchair rugby for Ireland but still misses the game.

Should tackling be banned in school rugby?