Tom Curry views concussion as an occupational hazard after reflecting on his presence among three England players who saw their summer tour to Australia cut short by head injuries.
Curry returned home early because of the damage sustained in the first Test and a match later he was joined by Sam Underhill and Maro Itoje, who were ruled out of the Sydney decider for the same reason.
The all-action Sale flanker is confident he will retire with his long-term health intact because of the steps taken by rugby to mitigate the impact of concussion.
But the sport continues to unfold amid a lawsuit launched against the game’s governing bodies by more 185 former players, many of whom have been diagnosed with early-onset dementia and other irreversible neurological impairments.
“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,” Curry 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 HIA process.
“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.
“That’s what I focus on and if something comes out that helps players in the long term then brilliant, it can only be a positive.”
As one of England’s most effective breakdown operators, Curry’s ability to get over the ball puts him at risk of a reckless clear-out but the 24-year-old shrugs off this concern – even when it is raised by his mum.
The viability of jackling is an ongoing debate amid fears it is dangerous and Curry said: “My mum says that a lot!
“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.
“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 hard-fought 2-1 series victory and attention now turns to the autumn which begins against Argentina on November 6.
On Sunday they gathered in south west London for the first time since dispatching the Wallabies and their training camp continued with a trip to Thorpe Park Resort where they completed an inflatable assault course.
“We didn’t do the rides – unfortunately and to the disappointment of everyone! We fell off the assault course a bit but it was good to get everyone together,” Curry said.