WHEN I heard the name ‘Newport Gwent Dragons’ on BBC Radio 5 Live during a primetime evening slot usually reserved for discussions about how much money a chosen superstar footballer has made that week, I not only thought “Oh dear, that’s going to upset a few people” but was also intrigued as to what the subject could be. The new era of the now WRU-owned Dragons maybe?

Unfortunately it was due to our infamous injury list. This has become quite the talking point with an impressive 27 being read out by head coach Bernard Jackman on the radio.

It isn’t just the Dragons who have injuries, as nearly every club is experiencing an unusually high number of casualties this season.

Pundits, coaches and medical experts are debating the reason for this almost daily at the moment, but no one can really put their finger on it.

I write this article just before I’m about to leave for a trip to the hospital to have a cortisone injection in the bottom of my foot, so I feel that I’m in a good position to talk about the potential issues facing rugby now and in the future.

And to add to that the seven concussions, a broken foot, fractured ankle, torn UCL in my elbow, hamstring tear, sesamoid fracture foot, fractured eye socket and AC joint sprain in my shoulder. I’ve had my fair share but I am by no means an anomaly.

You don’t need me to tell you that the physicality of rugby has gone through the roof. Anyone who watches the sport, especially live, can see for themselves that the collisions, both in force and number of them, are outrageous.

We do it because we enjoy playing the sport. Yes, we understand the risks but I believe that players need to be protected from themselves.

If a coach tells a player to stick his head down and run at that brick wall to be in with a chance of playing the following weekend, you’d be surprised how many would wake up with a sore head the next morning.

That’s the mentality of a professional sportsman, whose fierce competitiveness has got him to where he is.

With rugby becoming very lucrative and the prizes at the end of the tunnel becoming ever more appealing, players will forego the risks to themselves both physically and mentally to reach these.

This is when I believe both law makers and coaches around the world, and at age-grade level, have a huge responsibility to ensure that the opportunity for injury is minimised.

Of course not all of the current injuries are due to contact collisions, all clubs are suffering with non-contact injuries as well.

With players around the world getting bigger, heavier and more powerful of course the body is going to take the strain.

This is fine if you are an NFL lineman but I can’t think of a sport that combines the collisions and the metres run by players each match like rugby does.

But with games, leagues and cup success coming down to the fine margins and more times than not the team who brings the most intensity ending up at the top of the pile, this is not something I can see changing anytime soon.

If anything the intensity will rise further each year.

I have a huge amount of respect for those players who bounce between club seasons, international tours and even Lions tours without a sufficient time off.

You can understand why they are calling for an end to the talks to lengthen the season even further.

There have been warnings from clubs and schools around the country that participation is falling, and these issues may be a factor?

It’s when parents become concerned about their children’s wellbeing that numbers will start to drop, so we need to do all we can to reassure that if you play rugby, you will be supervised correctly and be taught the best techniques when it comes to contact.

I know there are many community and school coaches out there now doing a great job with this.

When you see the injury crisis in rugby being so publicly debated on mainstream channels it doesn’t do the game any justice either.

We all want to see this sport continue to prosper and deliver an ever improving product, but I just hope the people in the positions of power go about it the right way and have the biggest assets the game has in their thoughts.