Attitude has changed on concussion safety

Thursday March 23, 2017 Written by Published in League
National Rugby League has taken a tough stance on concussion. 17032222 National Rugby League has taken a tough stance on concussion. 17032222

Brisbane Broncos second-rower Alex Glenn believes players have changed their attitude towards concussion in recent times due to the increasing awareness surrounding the issue.

 

The comments come after the Gold Coast Titans, St George Illawarra Dragons and Newcastle Knights were all issued with breach notices for failing to follow the NRL’s concussion regulations in Round 3.

But this type of incident has been rare, with clubs and players following the rules strictly after the new guidelines were brought into place in 2014.

It was once seen as a sign of weakness to come off the field for a head knock, but this attitude has changed as players have become more aware of the long-term effects of concussion.

Brain damage, memory loss and recurring headaches are all linked to repeated concussions and for players this is a huge worry for them and their family. 

Speaking ahead of ISC Marvel Heroes Round, Glenn donned the Broncos’ Ironman jersey and strutted his stuff as Tony Stark on Wednesday.

But it is important to remember these rugby league players aren’t superheroes; they are young men and women that have loved ones who see them as heroes in their life. 

Therefore a player’s safety is top priority, and Glenn is someone who knows this as much as anyone with the New Zealand international having a wife and two young kids of his own.

He said they were the people he looked after himself for, and he believes the NRL’s concussion guidelines have helped him do that. 

“I don’t think players think it’s weak to go off in this day and age. It was definitely frowned upon back in the day,” Glenn said.

“Our sport is one of the heaviest hitting sports in the world. We don’t use any protection so it was thought back in the day that it was tough to stay out on the field after a big hit.

“I think these days players are a lot bigger and stronger, and they hit harder. It’s just where we are at during this point in time.

“The contact is a lot stronger than it was 20 years ago so we are just being smart by going off.

“I personally don’t want to be a player that hits 60 and struggles to communicate with my kids or function normally with my family.”

Glenn was concussed in the Broncos’ Round 1 win over the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks.

The 28-year-old did not return to the field after extensive testing, and although he was annoyed at the time he said it was the right thing to do. 

“At the time I was filthy that I couldn’t go back on to the field. I think it’s just in our nature that we want to keep on playing,” he said.

“But when I got home to my family it sunk in that it was benefiting my family and myself over the long term.

“We’ve seen all the possibilities that could happen to you after football and no one wants that.

“I couldn’t even remember what day it was when they tested me.

“Every team has the best doctor out there that makes sure they are safe and I believe they are doing a great job.”

            - NRL

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