Rugby is focusing on concussions, but studies can't find volunteers to test.
Concussions "remain one of the biggest issues facing rugby, but the sport is finding it a struggle to find even enough former players to take part in a study into the long-term effects of head trauma," according to Emma Stoney of the N.Y. TIMES.
One study at the Auckland University of Technology "hoped to look at 600 former athletes, 35 to 55 years old, from several sports popular in New Zealand." The study began in Aug. '12, and researchers had hoped to turn over a final report to the Int'l Rugby Board a year later, in Sept. '13. Researchers "had to extend the study through last month but still could get only 106 former top-level rugby players to sign up, along with a total of 63 former cricket and field hockey players, though they were able to get 200 amateur rugby players." Patria Hume is the lead researcher on the study and the director of the university’s Sports Performance Research Institute, New Zealand, which is coordinating the study. Hume: “It’s just been incredibly hard to recruit people." But Hume was confident that the study "would provide sufficient information" for the IRB to take action. She said, "Given the provisional results, the analysis, and the numbers recruited, I’m fairly confident the IRB will be able to make some good, clear recommendations of what some of the issues are." The New Zealand study "is not the only one." An independent study recently started in Scotland "hopes to find conclusively whether or not rugby players are suffering long-term consequences from head injuries and concussions" (N.Y. TIMES, 5/15