Rugby Safety Review After Spate Of Serious Spinal Injuries In Schoolboy Matches
Four teenagers have been left with serious spinal injuries while playing rugby.
Rugby Australia has launched an urgent safety review with nine GPS schools after a spate of serious neck injuries in schoolboy matches.
On Saturday, 15-year-old Alexander Clark was injured in a tackle while playing in an Under-15s match at St Joseph's Nudgee College.
He was airlifted to Lady Cilento Children's Hospital where he had surgery and remains in a stable condition.
The extent of his long-term injuries are not yet known.
Just two weeks earlier, Conor Tweedy, 16, broke his C4 and C5 vertebrae after a scrum collapsed.
He has been left with weakened breathing muscles, as well as possible paralysis of his arms and legs, but early signs are positive.
And in the week before Tweedy's incident, James Kleidon and Ollie Bierhoff from Toowoomba Grammar School suffered serious neck injuries in separate incidents.
Kleidon has returned to school after surgery, while Bierhoff remains in hospital but is walking.
On Monday, Rugby Australia announced the headmasters of of Queensland GPS schools will be reviewing each case individually.
Once the reviews have been competed, Rugby Queensland and rugby Australia will determine if any changes need to be made to the procedures that are in place.
"Safety is a number one priority for us, " said Rugby Australia CEO Raelene Castle.
"The reality is it's been ten years since we've had a very significant injury in school boy rugby."
But the cluster of injuries in GPS rugby has been a cause of concern Castle said.
"If we identify anything specific, then we will look to change our policies and procedures."