LUKE FITZGERALD, the wonderful Leinster, Ireland, and British and Irish Lions rugby player, has been forced to retire prematurely from professional sport at the relatively early age of 28.
Fitzgerald is just the latest in a lengthening list of talented young men who have had to quit the game they love because their bodies were damaged beyond repair or to the point that even one more injury might have catastrophic consequences.
Unfortunately it might be unwise to imagine that the rate of attrition might slow, indeed the very opposite is probably the case.
This casualty list is a huge challenge for rugby, as is the growing awareness around concussion.
The game’s legislators have tried to reduce the physical threat but more needs to be done — and done quickly.
Rugby is a great game and it should have the confidence to protect its players rather than appease its TV paymasters.
One of the ways that would immediately make the game safer would be to outlaw tactical substitutions, thereby making some of the gym-built dreadnought players obsolete.
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