2014 Issues Analysis By Dino Nuker
Sport Safety: Should headgear be made mandatory for all contact sports?
Injuries are common in most sports that have a contact component attached. Whether it’s at a professional level, or a school level, injuries are always bound to occur in contact sport. This analysis will look into the role headgear could, should and would play, and debates whether it should be made mandatory. Olympic sports such as Ice Hockey, Bicycle Riding and Baseball are just some examples that currently require athletes to wear a form of headgear. However, Australian contact sports such as AFL and Rugby give the option for players to wear headgear for protection. In 2011, 14 year old Ben Robinson was hospitalised after being treated 3 times in a game for head blows in a rugby game . In 1994, professional boxer Bradley Stone died from head injuries whilst boxing against Richie Wenton . Examples like these show the brutality of contact sports. Because of this, my paper will look at the issue of headgear in contact sport and will particularly look at this issue at junior sports level.
Wearing headgear has many positives, reducing injuries is the most obvious one and it could be argued that its help reduces the chance of injuries and even death. At an elite level, Chelsea goalkeeper, Petr Cech is convinced that wearing headgear saved him from suffering extended injuries after colliding with Fulham striker Orlando Sa back in September 2011. Headgear offers a form of padding when worn. It allows juniors and elite athlete’s the reduced chance of head wounds. By this it means it allows for less “cracked skulls”, scars, wounds and so on. It gives a stronger protection on the softer part of the skull which is more prone to damage.
Our children quite often follow examples set by role models, including elite athletics like Cech. Wearing headgear promotes the importance of safety to our younger audience. Such promotion, especially headgear, can have long term huge impact on younger audiences which may save many injuries from occurring also. By following these role models, parents are less stressed and it gives them peace of mind knowing that their child is safe and that they don’t have to “force” there children into wearing a protective item while competing.
Headgear can also reduce the chance of long term mental effects. According to “The Medical Journal of Australia 1914-2014”, depression has also been a long term condition related to sports concussion, which occurred in 11% of retired footballers with recurring concussion . Amateur boxers are also at risk of such mental illness, with a small group having the chance of getting CTE (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy) . However, wearing headgears still has a chance to reduce the damage that can be caused by devastating blows to the temple.
Whilst all this seems very comforting, some suggest there is also the risk of all players of contact sport getting more aggressive if they are wearing...