Dean Richards, the Director of Rugby of the RFU Championship side the Newcastle Falcons has admitted that the rugby union has a very limited scope to minimize the impact that injuries have on the careers of players, in the wake of the retirements of two former Falcons players last week. Craig Newby and Ben Woods, both former players at Kingston Park who had been plying their trade with the Leicester Tigers in Aviva Premiership saw their careers cut short due to a knee and hand injury respectively and retired from the game.
Dan Frazer, who played as a prop for the Newcastle Falcons chose not to go into the final year of his contract with the Kingston Park side, having been unable to recover from a back injury. The London Wasps saw a staggering five players retire from the game last summer due to injuries. And according to Richards, this trend, which has seen a rise in recent times, goes in fits and starts. He elaborated that during his playing days, there were plenty of players who retired due to injury, having cut short what could have been glorious careers.
However, he admitted that the advancement in sports science and sports medicine means that the players are looked after better than they were ever done. He admitted that the difference in these days is that a player has to be 100% fit to continue his playing where as during his playing days, one could have played with a level of 70-80% fitness.
Richards went on to add that the impact that a player feels these days is much more compared to what they were before. There were major hits during his days as well, but the Newcastle Falcons boss believes that the increased competitiveness in the game is something that has to be accepted.