It’s no secret that contact sports like football, rugby and martial arts can cause injuries to participants. But in the majority of the cases where injuries do happen, it’s fair to say that any examples of these are typically seen as a risk that’s simply part and parcel of the game.

However, in recent years there’s been increased scrutiny over the long-term effect of these injuries, in particular around how damaging concussions and skeletal trauma can be. So much so, discussions around banning some contact sports amongst certain age groups have been happening in certain nations.

While no one wants to see anyone hurting themselves, many would argue that a total ban would negate and undermine a lot of the positives that contact sports bring to participants. Here are just a few examples of the benefits that we can get from such sports, that would be lost if we were to stop playing them.

Teamwork and discipline

Whether it’s rugby, football, ice hockey or any of the team-based contact sports, one thing you learn when playing them is the value of teamwork and staying disciplined for the overall benefit of your fellow players. Being able to work with and support others for a common goal is an important skill for almost any age which can be put back into other aspects of our personal and professional lives.

Confidence and social development

Young people, in particular, can grow in confidence when playing contact sports. The ‘rough and tumble’ element can really help bring people out of their shells and ultimately make them harder and more determined.

Alongside this, sports such as rugby are very socially-led and renowned for their team spirit and camaraderie; whether it’s via attending team events, following and sharing the latest rugby news with each other or simply spending time together as friends outside of playing and training. Getting involved in such things can boost both the social skills of people and then at the same time their mental health.

Boosted physical health

Contact sports can also require a great deal of training, so on top of the mental health benefits, it’s a great way to improve people’s physical health. Although, being active and physically fitter can then of course also further improve your mental health.

Respect and empathy

Knowing that there’s an injury risk for both yourself and the opposing team can also instil a sense of respect and make a person more empathetic. These personality traits are again ones that can help us to become more successful in our daily lives.

Final thoughts

To return to a key point with all of this, while injuries aren’t ideal, banning contact sports because of them would also be damaging in that we would miss out on a variety of social, emotional and physical benefits. Perhaps a better compromise would be for those on either side of this situation to begin proper discussions, and then hopefully find a way to mitigate the injury risks without doing away with the sports and games so many of us love.