Tackling in Youth Rugby

The FSEM (UK) reviewed this statement in September 2017 in light of new media reports calling for a ban on tackling at school level Rugby.

Good injury surveillance and player welfare continue to be important,  there is no new evidence to support a ban on tackling in youth rugby.

March 2016

FSEM (UK) Responds to call for ‘a ban on collision elements of rugby within British schools’

The Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine UK (FSEM) is calling for further research across all sport and activities at school level to provide more robust data on the relative risk of injury.

Dr Paul D Jackson, President of the FSEM UK comments“There is insufficient good evidence to justify a call for tackling to be removed from school rugby. More research is required from medical experts, in injury surveillance, using standard definitions of injury which can be applied across all sports to enable comparisons to be made.

“Skill acquisition at an early age is essential in all sports and teaching of the correct techniques is a vital element of injury prevention. There will always be injury risk in contact sport, however it must be balanced against childhood physical inactivity, which contributes substantially to preventable disease in the UK.”

Quantifying and managing risk is important, particularly in sports with a higher risk of injury. Therefore the FSEM is calling for the creation of a National Sporting Injury Register to provide data that will highlight areas of concern.

Rugby Union funds ongoing injury research with leading universities. The sport has already used this information to change the rules applying to junior rugby and minimise the risk of injury, with further changes to come.


The FSEM fully supports the statement made by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health http://www.rcpch.ac.uk/news/rcpch-responds-letter-calling-ban-school-rugby

Follow FSEM on Twitter @FSEM_UKLinkedin and Facebook Web: www.fsem.co.uk