Alex McKinnon's circumstances can be a lesson to us all

We all have views on the Alex McKinnon tragedy that has engulfed the rugby league fraternity and the entire community.

It is well documented the life challenges facing McKinnon since surgery for spinal injuries as result of a lifting tackle in the match for Newcastle against the Melbourne Storm.

My mind has been ticking over about McKinnon’s circumstances and thinking about him, his family, friends, and teammates at Knights.

As a person who has followed league since I was five, I am now 50, and I have been involved as a player, spectator, league writer and junior league coach for many years, McKinnon’s sad circumstances shook me.

My brain has been working overtime, and many who know me will find this hard to believe, of what ideas or solutions we can implement to raise awareness of the danger of lifting tackles or players attacking the head of opponents.

There is no guarantee that a player won’t suffer another broken neck or heaven forbid spinal damage playing a collision sport.

We also must get things in perspective that horrible accidents happen, not just on the sporting fields but in everyday life.

People go swimming at the beach in summer and drown.

People drive cars every day and some are killed or badly injured in road accidents.

You can fall off a roof of a house and injure yourself. The list of accidents that can happen is endless.

The main theme is further education in the schools and the junior ranks.

We have to hammer home safer practices for players.

That starts with not only the NRL, but all levels of administration in the game.

No more lifting tackles. No more third man tackles. No more twisting, choking and pushing down on a player’s neck, or locking up their torsos.

Doctors have warned about these tackling methods for years.

And the coaches have the responsibility of changing their ways as well.

It starts with them.

One or two players in the tackle, simple as that.

Doctors have warned about these tackling methods for years.

Referees at all levels need to play their part.

As soon as a player is being lifted, the referees need to call out held, stop the play and blow the whistle.

NRL development officers and players from NRL clubs need to run coaching clinics about safer tackling techniques and speak to the juniors.

The youngsters mimic their idols and want to copy the tackling styles they employ.

Education is needed at all levels of the game.

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