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“We need to make our heads an absolute exclusion zone.”

Nobody in rugby league speaks like Peter Sterling.

Sterling’s post-retirement career as a media commentator is consistently insightful, as if 228 games in Parramatta, 13 State of Origin games in New South Wales, and 18 tests in Australia weren’t enough. Notable for its rational analysis.

Sterling has always stood out from the crowd, and now, with the bright red problem of concussion in rugby league, “Starro” once again stands out from many of his contemporaries.

He is not an easy person to catch. With a calendar packed with charity events, golf days, television and radio commentary, Nine’s recent fears of digital hacking have been lifted from his cell phone for days.But in the end the stars line up and Sterling exclusively talks about the concussion problem. Roar..

He begins by providing a concussion researcher with context about his decision to donate his brain:

“I felt I was renting a game to contribute something to make the rugby league better, bigger and stronger. It wasn’t a really difficult decision. Many people I As I said to, it’s just a small donation, but if future players benefit from it, I’m very happy to do it. “

Concussion outbreaks can be divided into two major groups: injuries to tackling players and injuries to victims of foul play. The former casts some interesting insights.

“I don’t like the evolution of the way tackles go high and keep them high, but with modern gameplay methods, it’s a disadvantage to actually tackle low,” he says. I will.

“The leg tackle doesn’t have a big reward. In fact, it’s not considered dominant. It just allows the tackle to struggle to get back to the marker and play the ball faster. Every tackle has its own time frame and it would be great if the referees, coaches and players could better understand it about leg tackles.

“I would like to think that the rugby league has the potential to eliminate high wrestling, reduce the number of players standing upright in the contact area, lower it, etc. But at this point, the way to win a soccer game dominates the rack area. And to control the speed of the game. “

A good example is the recent concussion of Cartman in Newcastle.

Cartman. (Photo by Tony Fedder / Getty Images)

Mika Elera Barawa of St. George Irawara ran the ball to the defense at high speed, where he confronted four or more Newcastle defenders, all standing upright into the collision area.

There is little benefit to this situation. It’s similar to a car crash test. Given the speed and proximity of the head and shoulders that converge to one point, the only surprising thing about this case is that only Mann was discussed.

Concussion in these situations is routinely described as “accidental”, but perhaps more accurately as an accident waiting to occur as a result of the player not being encouraged to work low. Is it expressed in?

“Low tackles do not eliminate the risk of concussion,” says Stello. “You can’t legislate because of poor technology.”

However, Sterling provides an interesting perspective on how emphasis changes occur, stating: Introducing a tackle style that changes the way the game is played should allow you to plan to ensure that you work with the player in a way that makes the game safer. “

Also classified in the “accidental” category are concussion that occurs during training.

“I agree with James Graham,” says Sterling. Since the maxim has always been to “train while playing,” it’s clearly almost meaningful to take action on the field without doing anything further to minimize head contact off the field. there is not. “

When it comes to foul play, Sterling is encouraged to move to stricter penalties for hitting his opponent’s head, but said, “I’m in a camp that wants these penalties to be heavier.” ing.

But quoting recent cases where players like Felise Kaufusi, Cody Walker, Andrew Fifita escaped with little or no stop, I’m getting things really tough, or they’re getting tough. Ask if it is just said.

Ashley Klein and Ferries Kaufushi

Ashley Klein reports Ferries Kaufushi. (Photo by Cameron Spencer / Getty Images)

“I think it’s anomalous, and it’s true that we’re being sent mixed messages,” Sterling agrees.

“Overall, the punishment is too generous. I think the disagreement is frustrating to the general public in the rugby league. There is no doubt that we need to be more stringent in order to absolutely keep our heads off limits. I think.”

Sterling isn’t trying to abandon his colleague in a media role, but tells him if the rugby league is culturally ready to move forward from commentators who joking or downplay smart contacts. I will ask.

“I don’t think I have a choice,” he says. “Now things are very different in every aspect of society and life, and we have to act accordingly. Rugby league is still a gladiator, physical and maintaining the structure of the game. You can, but you have to adapt in all of them.

“We still need a game that appeals to moms and dads of children aged 6 and 7, so they encourage them to play rugby league, but only if they believe the game is safe. In this regard, it is clear that concerns about concussion will become more pronounced and more important. “

Cultural change is a topic that Sterling is happy to expand.

“I think we’re learning a bit on the run, but we need to learn very quickly. We certainly need to pay attention to all the best medical advice, and we If you have an international concussion expert in [Dr Chris Nowinski] If we tell us that we are concerned about how the NRL defines and reports concussion, we need to pay attention to it.

“Another battle we have is to protect ourselves. The idea of” I’m okay “or” just let go “has been the player’s culture and perspective since 1908. It has taken root. So you need to find a way to get them out of the player’s hands as much as possible. “

In particular, just three days after our discussion, rugby league leader Phil Gould and recently retired player and television commentator Paul Garen discussed the same issue on the Nine Network, and Gould insisted on behalf of the player: did. Do you want to be protected? No need to protect. “

I ask Sterling about the difference between rugby league and AFL. There, the former AFL player is far more motivated to take part in legal action seeking compensation for concussion-related injuries, and the confused lawyer who has been trying to initiate a class action is NRL.

His reaction involves all rugby league fans. “We’ve always seen toughness, team loyalty, and loyalty to the game as such good qualities. That’s why it’s hard to criticize. There aren’t many places in life where you can build bonds with like-minded people, where you share a deep, genuine fellowship that sticks with you no matter what else happens.

“In that sense, it’s not surprising that players and ex-players protect the game.”

This brings us back to the dilemma facing the rugby league. Are you “protecting” the game through resistance to change, or is it more harmful to the game in the long run? Sterling’s response remains thoughtful.

“Many decisions we make about how we play the game will be tested more and more because of the nature of the sport. It turns out that the rugby league has to change. Even so, it’s a difficult act to balance because you don’t want to change much.

“We are all afraid of going on the path of proceedings and of the dire consequences that can occur, so we control our destiny, make some changes ourselves, and that. I think there is anything we can do to be able to maintain. The essence of our game is that we need to consider doing so so that we are not forced to make harmful changes to the sport. ..

“Otherwise, I’m worried that there might be a law that enforces us. It does it for us.”

In an environment where commentators and ex-players (influential people) are taking time to understand the seriousness of the concussion problem, or are paying for it lip service, Sterling’s position is a light beacon.

If the NRL is serious about changing the rugby league and taking fans and participants to the ride, it’s a good idea to make Sterling’s voice loud and clear.



"We need to make our heads an absolute exclusion zone."

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