Former Scotland players sought to advance welfare
Former Scotland rugby players are being encouraged to participate in a ground-breaking medical project that could benefit future generations.Researchers from the University of Glasgow began the project in the spring and Scottish Rugby is encouraging all former internationalists to take part.The study looks at the effects of concussion and is seeking to ascertain whether there is evidence that head injuries in rugby union have any long-term health effects. At present the medical world cannot answer that question definitively.Willie Stewart, a consultant neuropathologist at Glasgow's Southern General Hospital, said: "Recruitment is going well. However, the more former players who come forward to participate in this project, the better it will be for rugby union."The International Rugby Board is also encouraging participation. IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: "As rugby's governing body, player welfare is our number-one priority and concussion is at the heart of that. It is very encouraging to see our unions actively engaged in assisting research into head injuries and I would appeal to former elite players to come forward and take part in this University of Glasgow study, which is being supported by the Scottish Rugby Union."Evidence-based research guides our policy-making ensuring best possible standards of player welfare. We constantly review our Laws, regulations and protocols in the light of the latest available evidence and, along with prevention, management and education, research is a key element of how rugby is dealing effectively with the issue of concussion and head injuries."If you are a former Scotland player and would like to take part in the University of Glasgow's concussion study, then please contact a member of the Head Injury Research Group on 0141 211 0651, or by email; [email protected] Rugby's Chief Medical Officer and Scotland and British & Irish Lions team doctor, James Robson, added that the project is an opportunity to further enhance player welfare.Safety initiatives"We are pledged to make the game as safe as it can be and within Scotland we have introduced a number of safety initiatives at all levels of the game over the last few years with that objective uppermost in our minds. Player welfare has improved significantly but that does not mean we should rest on our laurels."Two former Scotland captains, Gordon Bulloch and Chris Paterson have already both taken part in the project and they echoed the call for their fellow caps to come forward.Paterson said: "Our sport is doing everything it can to lead the way on understanding concussion for future generations of players at all levels of the game."