Last weekend, the Leinster, Leicester, and Ireland rugby player Dominic Ryan joined a worrying and lengthening list of professional rugby players forced to retire prematurely.
Ryan, 28, followed Welsh and Lions captain — twice — Sam Warburton, 29, who quit the game in July. Severe concussion was the deciding issue for Ryan, while repeated and traumatic injuries cut Warburton’s stellar career short.
The Irish Rugby Football Union and the University of Limerick yesterday released findings of a research project that looked at injuries in the All-Ireland League during the season just past. Occasional injury is inevitable in a contact sport. Nevertheless, everything must be done to minimise the risk to all players, under-age, amateur, or professional. Though the IRIS report recorded injuries, it did not seem to uncover any startling, unacceptable level of attrition.
However, it has been obvious for some time that the professional game must be reformed, if it is to remain an attractive or viable career. It is, as Ryan and Warburton will confirm, becoming too dangerous.