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Icon Theatre- O'Brien Science Centre

UCD Dublin

Belfield

D4 Dublin

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Rugby Risk and Reward: Player welfare and head injury research

Rugby’s concussion concerns have been widely debated and discussed. The sport has been the subject of major criticism with regards to the high incidence of head injury, particularly at the professional level, but also in junior and community rugby, where calls to ban tackles in school-level rugby are one example of people’s responses to the issue.

However, in recent years, a number of initiatives have been introduced to try to curb the increase, and to bring the management and prevention of concussion to acceptable levels. This presentation will describe some of these initiatives, including the development of Head Injury Assessment protocols, the management of return-to-play after head injuries, and the most recent initiative, the reinforcement of high tackle laws based on research that Ross conducted in rugby union.

Speaker

Dr Ross Tucker is an exercise physiologist based in Cape Town, South Africa. He completed a PhD on human performance, the brain and fatigue. He also holds a post-graduate qualification in marketing and management. Following this, he worked for three years in the sports sponsorship and business industry, before returning to the academic world to continue research on topics including talent identification and development, elite Kenyan runners, running shoe biomechanics and the limits of human performance.

In 2015, he took up a position with World Rugby, and is currently Head Scientist, responsible for conducting and managing research that can be used to inform strategic decisions and law changes in the sport, with respects to both player welfare and high performance.

He is a nationally rated scientist, with over 60 scientific publications in peer-reviewed journals. He has delivered keynote and invited lectures at numerous international conferences, including the IOC Medical Conference, the American College of Sports Medicine annual meeting, the European Congress of Sport Science annual congress and the South African Sports Medicine conference.

He has consulted widely with high performance sports organizations on player development strategies, and was previously high performance scientist for the Springbok 7s rugby team from 2008 to 2012 and South Africa kayaking from 2011 to 2012.

He also runs The Science of Sport website, and is known for forthright opinions on sporting “current affair” topics, ranging from doping to Oscar Pistorius and Caster Semenya. He has been a frequent interviewee on “Off The Ball” on these topics. He was named one of South Africa’s most influential young South Africans by a prominent national South African newspaper.


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Icon Theatre- O'Brien Science Centre

UCD Dublin

Belfield

D4 Dublin

Ireland

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