Doctor Criticizes World Rugby’s Injury-Related Policies

February 27, 2017

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. authority / əˈθɔr ɪ ti / (n.) – someone who has knowledge and expertise in a certain field
Example: Many seek his advice on game strategies because he is an authority in basketball.

2. weigh in /ˈweɪˌɪn / (idiom) – to give an opinion or advice
Example: Many experts weighed in on the argument before a conclusion was reached.

3. step down /ˈstɛpˌdaʊn / (phrasal v.) – to give up one’s position
Example: Following the scandal, the chairman stepped down from his position.

4. discard / dɪˈskɑrd / (v.) – to remove
Example: The team had to discard their old, damaged equipment.

5. momentarily /ˌmoʊ mənˈtɛər ə li / (adv.) – for a very short time
Example: The crowd was momentarily silenced by the athlete’s actions.


Read the text below.
A doctor from England criticized the World Rugby Organization for its policies regarding head injuries.

Dr. Barry O'Driscoll [OH-DRIH-skuhl], a concussion specialist and authority on rugby safety, questioned the rugby governing body after an incident last December. During a match between Northampton /nɔrˈθæmp tən/ Saints and Leicester /ˈlɛs tər/ Tigers, Northamptons George North suffered a head injury that left him unconscious. Surprisingly, North was allowed to continue the game after Northampton’s medical team examined him. The team later acknowledged that he should not have been allowed to return to the game.

The incident sparked controversy, prompting authorities to launch an investigation. O’Driscoll was among those who weighed in on the issue. Three years ago, he stepped down from his position as the organization’s medical adviser to protest its medical policies. Since then, he has constantly demanded that the governing body discard its system for assessing head injury, saying that the current method is unsuitable for its intended purpose. O’Driscoll reported that, like North, other players have been allowed to play despite being momentarily knocked unconscious.

In response, World Rugby raised questions regarding the accuracy of the doctor's claims. In defense, the organization said that the Northampton medical team did not strictly follow the sport's protocols for head injuries. The organization's CEO added that they put the safety of their athletes ahead of anything else.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Do you think professional athletes should be forced to retire if their health is at risk? Why or why not?
·         Aside from health concerns, what are other reasons why professional athletes quit?

Discussion B

·         Why do you think some athletes like playing dangerous sports?
·         Give some ways that athletes can stay safe while doing dangerous sports.

February 27, 2017