“More Needs To Be Done”: James Graham On Head Injuries In Footy

Sickening head knocks have sparked controversy and dominated the headlines in the NRL recently, with several high-profile players being injured during the game and treated for concussions.

What does this mean for our younger players? How significant are the risks, and where should we draw the line for player protection?

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On today’s This Arvo In Sydney, host Sacha Barbour Gatt and LiSTNR journalist Amy Goggins talked to James Graham, a former professional rugby league player. He opened up about his experience of head knocks and the protection for younger players.

Mr Graham was a prop for St Helens in the Super League and at the international level for England and Great Britain. 

Mr Graham didn’t want parents to be scared to put their children into sports, but he said it all came down to “managing the dangers with awareness and honesty”.

We need to make sure that this message gets through to our junior players, our junior coaches, that we’re all aware of the potential consequences for this,”

Graham said. 

He said one recommendation would be to significantly reduce the amount of contact at training and practice sessions.

We have seen the NFL over in America do that successfully,”

he added.

Mr Graham is not alone in the fight for better protection to minimise the impacts of head knocks. Some clubs in Sydney’s Junior League District have rolled out new virtual reality technology and free headgear to keep children protected.

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New junior footy rules have also been introduced, scrapping competitive games until the age of 13, and banning tackling until midway through the under 7s.

So what’s important is that we are having these conversations, players are speaking out, putting it on the radar, and to continue to improve player welfare, both now and then later in life.”

Hosted by Sacha Barbour, This Arvo in Sydney is a 10 to 12 minute daily news podcast made just for Sydney! Listen now on the Listnr app.