On 29 January 2011, Benjamin Robinson was playing rugby for his school. During the match he sustained a concussion but was not taken off, and was allowed to continue with the game, in which he endured a second impact. When play ended, he collapsed, dying two days later as a result of his injuries.
Every week young children are hospitalized on the playing fields of Britain. Yet the subject is rarely investigated, injury data are not systematically collected, and as a result any real attempt to work out how to make youth rugby safer is flawed. Using meticulous, peer-reviewed research, leading public health specialist Allyson M. Pollock sets out the true risks associated with the sport, raising uncomfortable questions for politicians and the educational authorities.
With news breaking today that the offices of the building contractor responsible for construction of one of the main competition venues for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games have been raided by police, amidst charges that it has skimmed-off millions of dollars of public funds, we revisit Jules Boykoff's essay from NLR 67 on anti-Olympic resistance.
Jules Boykoff's new book, Power Games: A Political History of the Olympics, a timely, no-holds barred, critical political history of the modern Olympic Games, is out now.
With the Rio Games mired in a series of corruption scandals, and with the looming threat of the Zika Virus, the question of who the Olympic spectacle actually benefits has been raised once again. In Rio the favelas, typically sites for state repression, have been subject to eviction and displacement and protests against the Games have been subject to militarised policing and massive human rights abuses in order to clear the city for the arrival of athletes and tourists with their entourage of corporate sponsors and media executives. What power do ordinary people have to stop the great sporting spectacles from destroying communities and wasting billions in public funds? And, could the Olympics ever be democratised?
Jules Boykoff is an author, academic and former US National Team Footballer. Regularly cited as one of the world's leading experts on the history of the Olympics, Jules is the author of books on the criminalisation of dissent in the United States, activism and the Olympic Games, and the era of mass spectacle and sporting events, plus several collections of poetry. His new book, Power Games: A Political History of the Olympics, is out now. In this new Five Book Plan, he presents his top five books on the political Olympics.