The East Terrace - For the rugby football enthusiast

Leading doctor calls for changes to rugby laws

No more scrums
Scrums to be gotten rid of?

Posted July, 2006

A leading British doctor has called for dramatic changes to the laws governing rugby union in an attempt to lower the risk of injury that the game carries.

Doctor Jim Burke has shocked the rugby world with a new set of proposals which he believes should be adopted by the International Rugby Board.

The report follows hot on the heels of a plea from another doctor, James Bourke, no relation (see original news story), who recently called for an end to contested scrums in rugby union.

Burke, a consultant general surgeon at King’s Medical Centre in Nottingham, believes that rugby must change to protect young players from potentially suffering serious injury.

‘I realise there may be resistance to the proposals,’ said the doctor, who is an honorary medical office at a local rugby football club, ‘but we cannot continue to allow young men the free will to choose to play the sport they wish to play, in the manner they wish to do so. We must protect them from themselves.’

The full proposals, obtained by The East Terrace’s investigative team, are:

‘It may seem dramatic,’ said Burke, ‘but we have to interfere here. We cannot assume that young men are aware of the risks associated with playing rugby. Because of a minute problem with serious spinal injuries - albeit an incredibly tragic problem - we must stop the fun for millions of players around the world.’

At press time, Burke had made no comment on whether or not motor-racing, sky-diving, boxing, rock-climbing, water sports, wrestling or martial arts should be banned or subject to legal interference.