Schoolchildren could be risking their health by playing on when injured during PE lessons, new research has revealed.
According to the study, which was conducted by personal injury firm Bolt Burdon Kemp, nearly half (45 per cent) of pupils between the ages of 11 and 16 worry about being branded "wimps" by their teammates if they leave the pitch due to injury.
Moreover, 56 per cent of those surveyed said they would carry on playing despite having sustained an injury.
Some 1,000 youngsters were questioned during the study, which suggests more needs to be done to protect pupils when they are playing contact sports such as rugby and football.
Cheryl Abrahams, partner and specialist personal injury lawyer at Bolt Burdon Kemp, warned that adequate precautions need to be taken to minimise the risk of head injuries.
"Despite there being a lot of useful guidance available to PE teachers from various sport governing bodies, they are not currently required to have a medical certificate in First Aid, or to be trained in how to spot the signs of concussion," she added.
In addition, more could be done to boost pupils' awareness of head injuries, with almost half of those questioned underestimating their seriousness compared to other problems such as a pulled muscle or bleeding leg.
One in four children sustain an injury while playing sport and each year about 10,000 youngsters aged ten to 19 are admitted to hospital with head injuries.
Last year, the Rugby Football Union (RFU) launched a campaign entitled 'Don't be a Headcase' to raise awareness and provide guidance to sports coaches and players about the risks involved in concussion, the Telegraph reports.
In response to the latest survey, a spokesperson for the RFU told the newspaper safety "is at the core of all the training we deliver to coaches, referees and medics, at all levels of the game".
The organisation said concussion and safety training is being included in all of its coach and referee training plans.
Posted by Theo Foulds