Posted on Friday June 26, 2020

Should contact sports be banned for children?

It’s easy for me to sit here and as an expectant mother who plays Rugby Union for a local team, saying I’m 100% in support for contact sports in Schools. Maybe I’ll feel differently when our little son or daughter is here, but for now, I do feel that sports of any kind in school are so important, especially for personal development.


When I was in school we didn’t get to play any contact sport. Anything too rough, like Rugby, was left to the boys. I think the roughest thing we played was hockey! Still, hockey wasn’t a contact sport and there were certainly some injuries on the pitch (the odd ball to the face, stick to the shins, collisions as speed etc).


The benefits that playing sport brings to children are huge. Aside from the enjoyment, it improves physical fitness and health and builds self-confidence. However, it is clear that a substantial number of parents are worried about the risk of serious injury.


The Sport Collision Injury Collective, a group of doctors, academics, sports scholars and health professionals, has called for a ban on tackling in school rugby matches. These calls may be controversial and many will argue that playing contact sports is a great way to develop team work and a broader set of skills. No doubt the debate will continue.


The stats…


Research from MetLife has found that one third of parents with school age children are concerned about serious injuries from sport – and there could be real reasons to be worried.

The research shows that:


  • around 17% of parents have had to take children to Accident & Emergency units in the past five years because of injuries sustained while playing sport at school
  • nearly a six have had to visit GPs for advice on sports injuries
  • over 30% of parents have had to seek medical or dental treatment for children due to school sports injuries in the past five years


Parents are also becoming increasingly keen to see action from schools and sports bodies to help reduce the risk of injury:


  • one in five say they would be happy to back a ban on full contact rugby in schools
  • more than a third want better recording of injuries suffered as a result of school sports
  • 40% want children to be able to opt out of rugby one third would support opt-outs for hockey and football


Let’s wrap our kids up in cotton wool.


School sports aren’t the only culprit though. MetLife reports that over two-thirds of claims on their accident and hospital cover policy are for broken bones – mostly caused by kids just being kids. With the summer holidays around the corner, children are likely to spend more time outside playing with friends and taking part in summer activities and sports clubs.


Although we can’t wrap our children in cotton wool, we can take preventative measures and give them the tools they need to avoid unnecessary risks, as well as putting protection in place in the event an accident does happen.


If you’d like information or advice about accident protection cover, please get in touch.