Abstract Accepted for ECSS Prague 2019
I am really pleased to announce that I will be presented on Inaction as a form of action: The British Government responses to the call to ban tackling in schools’ rugby at the European College of Sports Science conference in Prague (July 2019).
Presentation date: 04.07.2019, Time: 16:45
Lecture room: Terrace 2B
Session: OP-SH13 Ethical behaviour in sport
In 2016, the Sport Collision Injury Collective called upon the UK Government to remove and ban tackling from school physical education. This call was based upon the premise that tackling in rugby was the leading cause of injury, and particularly injurious in regard to concussion (Archbold et al., 2017). This is particularly worrying, given that rugby is delivered as an often compulsory element of the physical education curriculum for boys. Given that tackling is a structural element of rugby and that the injuries are often severe, this is an unacceptable level of risk for children (White et al., 2018).
This research explores the official responses from government officials to the call to remove and ban tackling from schools, focusing on the discursive mechanisms that they utilised to justify inaction. Government officials conflate the benefit of physical activity with the benefits of sport/rugby, they divert onto other issues (such as physical inactivity), they delay through substandard initiatives, they dismiss the evidence, they defame public health advocates and they devolve themselves of responsibility. This research identifies the mechanisms used to prevent public health intervention in order to reproduce and maintain sporting traditions and structures.