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Removing contact from school rugby will not turn children into couch potatoes
  1. Allyson M Pollock,
  2. Graham Kirkwood
  1. Blizard Institute, Queen Mary University of London, Centre for Primary Care and Public Health, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Professor Allyson M Pollock, Blizard Institute, Queen Mary University of London, Centre for Primary Care and Public Health, London E1 2AB, UK; a.pollock{at}qmul.ac.uk

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Background: Recently, an open letter calling for a ban on tackling in school rugby was sent to the Chief Medical Officers (CMOs) and Ministers of Sport in Education and Health in the UK and the Republic of Ireland. The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH), and the Faculty of Sports and Exercise Medicine (FSEM), have responded with statements on their respective websites.1 ,2 These statements mirror claims made in a commentary in the BJSM co-written by the CMO of Scotland, entitled “Turning people into couch potatoes is not the cure for sports concussion”.3

Both the RCPCH and FSEM statements take an approach of denying the evidence that exists, creating a smokescreen of new initiatives that await evaluation and finally conflating the benefits of physical activity and exercise with sport and contact sport in particular.

First, turning to the suppression and denial of evidence of harm. Writing on behalf of the FSEM, Dr Jackson claims that “There is insufficient good evidence to …

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