Progressive Rugby, a new group formed by those with an interest in the sport, has written an open letter to World Rugby calling for reform in rugby union.
In the letter, the group has outlined concerns to World Rugby, as well as a plan of action to improve the care and welfare of its players, who fear that their calls for reform have not been heard previously.
Progressive Rugby has been formed by Jamie Cudmore, James Haskell, Professors John Fairclough and Bill Ribbans, plus various other senior names from the game, who comprise of current and former players, coaches, club representatives, referees, refereeing coaches, medics, sponsors, politicians and teachers at rugby-playing schools.
They believe that more needs to be done to protect the health and wellbeing of rugby union players who are suffering from excessive workloads, brain traumas and potentially life-changing consequences as a direct result of the current nature of the sport.
The letter read: "We consider in view of the evidence of risk for traumatic brain injuries occurring in rugby union that more should be done to protect the rugby-playing community from the dangers of injury and that World Rugby has a moral and legal duty to minimise risk and to inform players and parents of the risk of brain damage from repeated knocks.
"Evidence of the existence of brain disorders in retired players supports the contention that participation in rugby union can cause brain damage.
"The awareness of the association with traumatic brain injury and participation in rugby union is of paramount importance for both the players and the sport itself. We believe that this issue is the greatest threat to the worldwide game."
Some of the measures detailed in the letter included limiting contact between players in training, a close review at double-teaming tackles and the upper level of tackle height, a guaranteed number of days off inbetween seasons and more education for players on head injuries.
Author: Jake Wilkin