I think the Ireland rugby union captain and head coach, Johnny Sexton and Andy Farrell, have a valid point about lowering the tackle height to the waist, a variable anatomical landmark (Johnny Sexton criticises RFU for lowering tackle height for amateurs, 23 January).
My experience includes playing amateur schools rugby at a high level in Ireland and being the doctor for Launceston Rugby Club and Cornwall RFU. (This included time when Launceston were at a high level, playing professional teams.) I have seen the game get faster, more physical, and sometimes indisciplined. As a doctor, I am most concerned about the risks of long-term neurological damage. As a spectator, I love to see good, open rugby.
Having studied and taught anatomy, could I suggest a better option: all rugby shirts should have a clear horizontal line at the level of the junction between the upper, backward angled section of the breastbone (the sternum) and the lower, long part. Then every player, from child to veteran, could see that line and tackle below it. This would give more clarity to match officials. I believe this would reduce head and neck injuries.
Read more at: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2023/jan/29/tackling-the-problem-of-rugby-and-brain-injuries