Assessing the risks of rugby
Every morning, most of us have to weigh up the risk of plugging in the kettle, crossing the road, getting on the train or into the car, eating what could be a sandwich made by Sam and Ella, and getting home again. Life is risky. I write this after reading that a pedestrian has been killed on a motorway.
How risky is rugby? Every single day of my life I wonder whether some sports are too dangerous.
I have to respect Dr Alyson Pollock's position. While I was away on holiday her publicly-funded Edinburgh University research was published into 190 rugby matches at five schools that produced 37 injuries, one of which needed an overnight stay in hospital.
She says that children are put at risk by people who have a duty of care when forced to play rugby at school, that concussion is under-reported and that scrums should be banned, while acknowledging that tackles are where most injuries occur.
All of which I take seriously.
And, hand on heart here, I think all sports have an element of danger. According to insurance websites the most dangerous sports seem to be mountain climbing, scuba diving, aviation (except as a paying passenger), parachuting, yachting, power boating, motor sport, snowboarding, ballooning and bungee jumping,
Add in tumbling at gymnastics, falling off a bike, getting hit in the face at hockey, doing your back in cheerleading or hitting your three iron, crashing to the ground from the back of a horse whether living or pommel, getting whacked at lacrosse, taking one to the chin boxing, slipping on the ice skating, doing your knee in on the slopes, running with the bulls in Pamplona, and you get the picture.
But can you imagine a world where we take no risks? Can you imagine a world where we wrap ourselves in cotton wool? We could sit and watch television all day. And then die young and fat.
I've said before I am not proud that my sport can break a player's neck. I still believe that scrums should pack down front rows together, second rows next and then back row.
Even as a former player I understand that rugby inhabits an area between entertainment, healthy pursuit and risky activity.
But all sports are exactly the same. All sports injure people. And you have to make the decision as to what is an acceptable risk.
I coach rugby, I love the game and I think that, on balance, it is an acceptable sport. I see the game do more good than bad in the world.
You might not agree. But that is what I think. It is not a perfect world.
To be honest, I was fairly annoyed that public money was spent on the Edinburgh University study. It should be spent on getting inactive children into sport and healthy activity instead.