Contact sports

Oct 4, 2017 | Articles, Assembly Business | 0 comments

Plenary Wednesday 04 October 2017

14:58:53
Gareth Bennett AM

Gareth Bennett AM

Party: United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP)

Spoken Contribution – 14:35:38
Watch this contribution on Senedd TV | View this contribution in the Record of Proceeding document

7. What assessment has the Welsh Government made of the risk of injury to children and young people through playing contact sports such as rugby? (OAQ51113)

Rebecca Evans AM

Rebecca Evans AM

Title: Minister for Housing and Regeneration Party: Welsh Labour

Thank you. The UK Chief Medical Officer has commissioned the UK physical activity committee to consider the evidence calling for a ban on contact rugby for school-age children. The committee rejected the call to ban tackling and did not feel that rugby participation poses an unacceptable risk of harm.
Gareth Bennett AM

Gareth Bennett AM

Party: United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP)

Thanks for the answer, and that’s quite an encouraging response. The question was posed in relation to a recent piece that appeared in the ‘British Medical Journal’, which was quite well publicised, so I’m sure you’re aware of it. Of course, we do have to be mindful of the risks posed, but we’re also trying to encourage young people to get involved in physical activity. So, I’m just looking for some reassurance that we weren’t going to overreact to this piece. So, I think your response is encouraging in that light, and I gather nothing has changed as a result of this piece in the BMJ.

Rebecca Evans AM

Rebecca Evans AM

Title: Minister for Housing and Regeneration Party: Welsh Labour

Thank you for that question. We’re very alive to the importance that we put on keeping children safe in school in all aspects, but we’re particularly taking the issue of safety of school sport seriously. It is important to put in place proportionate steps to create those safe environments for children to participate in sport. Injury, of course, can occur in any recreational activity although clearly some sports carry a greater risk than others. Welsh Government has provided guidance on concussion and brain injury to support people who are involved in school and community sport up to the age of 19, to minimise the possibility of injury. That guidance was produced in partnership and in co-operation with a range of partners including the NHS, Welsh Rugby Union and the Football Association of Wales. So, it’s important to take a proportionate approach to this issue, making sport as safe as we possibly can but also recognising the huge benefits that sport and physical activity bring to individuals.