Grassroots rugby; rugby; respectThis afternoon, I posted the following blog, I won't go through the background again, it's all here.... http://www.rugbyunited.org.uk/content/grassroots-rugby-respecting-our-vo...
I've had tweets and DMs all day about this topic and this DM below is just one. Have a read, and then read the notes at the bottom. You're a rugby fan, do you know what to do about it?
[from a Twitter #rugbyunited follower] - "Just saw your tweet about respect, or rather the lack of it. A few years back, I was the principal first aider at a primary age tournament. One of the visiting players took a bad knock to the head and was clearly concussed—quite seriously by his symptoms—so I told his father and his team's coaches the lad needed to go to hospital urgently. They screamed abuse at me and accused me of nobbling their best player. They took him away but about 10 minutes later I spotted him on the pitch, playing despite being unsteady on his feet and uncoordinated. I got the president of the host club over, he called the ref in, and both of them agreed the player should come off. Cue even more abuse from the visiting parents and coaches. It was appalling.
I saw another incident last year where a player took a knee to the eye during a tackle and was knocked out. I wasn't there in an official capacity but when it became obvious that neither team had a first aider (people were running around shouting "where's a first aid kit, does anyone know first aid?") I offered to help. I wanted to stabilise the player's head and neck and get an ambulance, but those suggestions were shouted down as "unnecessary mollycoddling" and "there's a game to get on with". Eventually, one of the coaches tipped a bottle of water over the injured player's head, he was dragged to his feet, had his arms placed around the shoulders of two team-mates, and they were bundled off to the changing rooms. Again, totally appalling.
Fortunately, my club is better than that, as are many others, but there are still pockets of willful ignorance and stupid machismo out there. And no, please do not name names if you want to repeat any of the above—I've had more than enough hassle from some of the people involved in those incidents as it is."
[I replied] - Thank you for sharing your experiences, I would like to post this in a blog - completely anonymously as per the previous one. Can I do that?
[Twitter person replied] - "Yes, but keep it anonymous, please, and mention that there are many good clubs that do it right out there. They, and the players, are badly let down by the wrong 'uns. To make matters worse, it also plays into the hands of those who'd ban rugby as "too dangerous". My personal view, as a level 2 coach, workplace first aider (sports), Red Cross first aider and rugby pitchside responder, is that rugby and boxing are the two sports that take head injuries most seriously. But that's not how the media and large sections of the public see it, and the bad attitudes, poor approach and wilful ignorance of the few seriously undermine the efforts of the many. Anyway, I should be studying (sports psychology, which is probably apt given this discussion)."
#rugbyunited has long promoted the positive image of rugby. But clearly we have challenges at the grassroots level, getting games to happen is one, but when they happen, there's a whole host of challenges to overcome!
Do we, #rugbyunited attempt to change this? If you are stood on the sidelines, what you stand up? If you are at a premiership rugby ground and there's swearing and abuse, to you challenge the behaviour? I know I haven't.
Would you if the person next to you did? If that person supported you? If that person winked, smiled, backed you? You know the nudge....
Perhaps you and I individually don't stand up to the abusers, the bullies. But perhaps you and I can do it together. And if you and I do it, perhaps someone else will join us, and perhaps someone else.... Let's keep #respect back in rugby.