Sportsmen and experts including Barry O’Driscoll, the former medical adviser to the International Rugby Board, have warned of the dangers of head injuries in the film Head Games: The Global Concussion Crisis. O’Driscoll, who resigned from the IRB medical advisory board two years ago in protest at its handling of head injuries, cites the treatment of his own nephew, Brian O’Driscoll, as evidence of the problem. The Ireland star was allowed to return to the pitch after suffering concussion during a match against France in March last year. “If that had been allowed in the United States, during an American football match, then the officials involved would have been sacked,” he says in the documentary.
The film, Head Games, directed by acclaimed US documentary maker Steve James, highlights the decades of denial in American Football which led to the NFL being ordered to pay out $765million (£460m) to former players who suffered serious mental health problems linked to concussion.
“Head Games: The Global Concussion Crisis” delivers an unfiltered looked at one of the more-troubling story lines in today’s sports world. Never-before-revealed neurological findings of rugby and soccer players make a strong case that repetitive head trauma is not just a concern for football players and boxers.
The American-made film focuses on what it describes as "a silent, global epidemic" of head injuries and traumas triggered by sports that are becoming increasingly robust and are leaving more and more former players suffering from dementia and the effects of brain damage in their middle years. These sports include American football, ice hockey – and rugby.
Last week British MP Chris Bryant launched a campaign to increase awareness about concussion in sport. A feature-length documentary about the "concussion crisis", Head Games, was also released in the UK. After the press screening, one current international player said: "Our concussion protocols can be laughable at times".
“The beauty of [IF365] is it will give people greater opportunity to see Head Games, and this issue of concussion is so important right now that I think the more people that can see this film and learn from this film, the better.”
The focus has been on football and hockey. But recently soccer has been added to the mix. And now there is a new documentary called "Head Games: The Global Concussion Crisis" that reveals new neurological findings that will change the perception of concussions.
A documentary maker has alleged Six Nations bosses tried to censor a new film about head injuries in sport and possible links to early onset dementia.