Expert Warns All Contact Sport In Australia To Be Banned In A Generation
Everyone is aware that contact sports carry some risks. Whether it's a broken bone, damaged vision or brain damage, it's no secret that these sports have dangers that are pretty unavoidable unless big changes are made.
However, an expert warns a big change is coming and it could wipe out contact sports altogether.
Doctor Bennet Omalu has been the pioneer researcher in brain damage found in NFL players in America. Technically called chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), it's a degenerative brain disease that crops up as a result of repeated trauma to the head.
A landmark study found that 99 percent of NFL players' brains that were donated for research were found to have CTE.
But Doctor Omalu warns that sports like rugby league, rugby union and AFL will be discontinued or drastically changed to avoid CTE becoming as widespread in Australia.
Speaking to the Brisbane Times, the forensic pathologist said: "We are dealing with human life here. In the next generation or two, mankind won't be playing sports like rugby or football or ice hockey or mixed martial arts.
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"It just doesn't make sense to be damaging the brain of a human being. In a game like rugby, in every play there is a blow or impact to the head. The human species evolves, it's part of who we are to change. Society evolves, we move forward."
He wants a rule brought in that bans kids under the age of 18 to play contact sport.
Doctor Omalu adds putting children in contact sports like rugby is like 'child abuse' and 'it's not right' to put a kid in harm's way.
"Your brain is 60-80 per cent water, it's a very sensitive and vulnerable organ that floats freely inside your skull. There's nothing holding it down. So every sudden change in motion, the brain jolts around in your skull," he told the Brisbane Times.
No doubt this revelation will be shocking to the people in charge of rugby union, league and AFL in Australia.
Our country loves it's sport and it's one of the few things left that binds us together in solidarity - so asking Australians to accept a contactless version of the game they adore will be a big ask.
However, if the case keeps getting put forward that it's in the best interests of the child or the player to avoid repeated knocks to the head, then it's difficult to argue against.
Featured Image Credit: PA