England's Curry backs rugby to deal with concussion amid lawsuits

England's Curry backs rugby to deal with concussion amid lawsuits

England flanker Tom Curry believes rugby union has "come on leaps and bounds in terms of player safety" amid fears the sport's future is at stake from concussion -- something he appears to regard as an occupational hazard.

Tom Curry

Curry, 24, returned home early from England's tour of Australia in July because of the concussion he suffered in the first Test and, a match later, fellow England forwards Sam Underhill and Maro Itoje were ruled out of the Sydney decider for the same reason.

Nearly 200 former players, including England's 2003 World Cup-winning hooker Steve Thompson, have launched lawsuits against the game's governing bodies.

Several of the players involved have been diagnosed with early-onset dementia and other irreversible neurological impairments.

But Sale back-row Curry said Monday he had "full confidence" in his long-term health prospects.

"Rugby is a contact sport. You work on your tackle technique, you try and get it right but ultimately it's very different every time you do it," he said.

A new protocol was introduced in July that states any player with a history of concussion or who is removed from a match with obvious concussion symptoms must sit out at least the next 12 days rather than undergo a seven-day head injury assessment (HIA) process.

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"Rugby is being put into a better spot with research and what's going on," Curry said. "I've got full confidence in my long-term health. I'll let the scientists take care of that and let's crack on and play rugby.

"If the research backs the change to the protocols then I'm all for it. At the end of the day my job is to play rugby."

The dynamic Curry is renowned for his work at the breakdown, but that can leave him vulnerable to a reckless clear-out by an opponent, especially when he is 'jackling' for possession, something many within the game -- and his own mother -- regard as dangerous.

"My mum says that a lot!" he said. "It's rugby and you can't change it -- that's the sport we love. The only complicated bit is when people start rolling in and pulling around.

"It is rugby and you have got people running at you, but I have never felt vulnerable at all. We are well protected, especially with the new laws."

Curry added: "Look at two or three years ago when you had to win the contest against clearers and survive the clear out. Rugby has made huge steps forward.

"We can always say this or that would be better, but from where we started to where we are now we have come on leaps and bounds in terms of player safety."

England left Australia with a 2-1 series win and are now preparing for four Tests at Twickenham next month starting with a November 6 encounter against Argentina before matches with Japan, New Zealand and world champions South Africa.

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