The dangers of modern football are often scrutinised, but has safety actually evolved over time?
In Australia, four major football codes (focusing on soccer, rugby union, rugby league and Australian football) are generally considered to be high risk sports. On rare occasions, serious injury and death can occur.1,2 The popularity of these sports for spectators and participants tends to result in a bias on the reporting and awareness of any serious events that happen. This has been further heightened by the emphasis on head trauma and concussion in recent years. At the same time, the peak bodies of the football codes in Australia, including the Football Federation Australia, Rugby Australia, the National Rugby League and the Australian Football League, have been proactive in addressing safety concerns. This includes rule changes,3 return to play protocols,4 and direct funding of research.5 Perhaps counterintuitively, positive safety management can result in the public image being presented with an unfair focus on the risks of participation.
Publication of your online response is subject to the Medical Journal of Australia's editorial discretion. You will be notified by email within five working days should your response be accepted.