John Pryor Explores Rugby’s Potential Role in Improving American Football
Reduced Incidence of Concussions
According to John Pryor and a number of other rugby experts, athletes participating in rugby are taught to engage in tackling practices that are considered far safer when compared to those traditionally taught in American football. There are many who believe that teaching American football players to tackle in the same way that rugby players are taught to tackle will have a positive impact on the game by reducing the incidence of concussions as well as sub-concussive hits. Of course, both games involve a great deal of physicality that makes it unlikely that all risk can be removed, but it seems possible that teaching more players to tackle by beginning low with their head and remaining behind the ball carrier while leading with the shoulders will reduce the risk of concussion by a significant degree.
Increased Rate of Injury Prevention
While rugby-style tackling is beginning to be taught by American football coaches, there is still a long way to go before it is adopted on a widespread basis. Through the use of rugby-style tackling, the incidence of concussions as well as injuries in general will be sharply reduced. The increased rate of injury prevention will apply not only to the athlete doing the tackling but also to the athlete being tackled, which is clearly good for the game of American football on the whole.
Enhanced Safety Ensures American Football’s Continued Popularity
There is real concern that fears associated with injury and concussions will eventually lead to the end of American football’s dominance in the United States. If the game is not made safer, youth participation will continue its current decline and the sport will eventually fade away. Rugby-style tackling is just one part of the solution, as anything that results in the game’s increased safety is good for the sport.