Biden: Rugby is safer than American football
SPOTLIGHT: United States President Joe Biden told an Irish audience he would prefer his children to play rugby rather than American football due to the risk of brain injuries.
In a speech to lawmakers in Dublin, the 80-year-old leader reminisced about playing both sports, and joked that rugby players were “all nuts”.
“But the interesting thing is I’d rather have my children playing rugby now for health reasons than I would have them playing (American) football,” he added.
“Fewer people get hurt playing rugby and you have no equipment. You have 280-pound guys like we do and you just don’t hit each other’s head very often.”
The effects of concussion among American footballers has long been an issue, and seen multi-million dollar lawsuits filed against leagues.
Repeated head trauma has been found by medical researchers to cause long-term neurological damage, prompting safety improvements.
But rugby is also reckoning with the lingering effects of sustained head injuries among players, with research indicating similar effects.
Medics have said former rugby internationals were more likely to develop motor neurone disease than the general population.
That has led to a group of former players deciding to sue various governing bodies for allegedly failing to protect them from permanent injury.