The co-author of a report which suggests children and adolescents account for nearly half of A&E attendances for sporting injuries, has claimed PE should be taken less seriously in schools.
Professor Allyson Pollock, who is director at the Institute of Health and Society at Newcastle University, said there shouldn't be an expectation that "every child will be injured" when playing sport at school, following her findings.
The study, which was carried out by Newcastle University researchers and the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, analysed the A&E data of two hospitals between 2012 and 2014, and found that around 47 per cent of patients with sport-related injuries were under the age of 19.
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"It shouldn't be the expectation that every child will be injured which it has been for many schools with games like rugby, for example," Professor Pollock told Matthew Wright.
"Since rugby became professional its become a lot more dangerous, that's been well recorded. There was a doubling and tripling of the injury rates, especially in children, and those studies didn't continue and they should have done.
"I think professional players will tell you that the game has changed a lot. If you just look at the size and weight of players. The trouble is children want to imitate that, they're really children inside, but they look like they've got these great big bodies because they're doing all the muscle building.
Children don't find PE 'enjoyable'
Ms Pollock called for schools approach PE lessons in a more playful way, adding that physical activity should be "enjoyable" for children.
"Physical activity must be enjoyable and actually many children don't find it enjoyable," she said.
"Children like to play and in fact, if you watch how they organise games when they're out of school they don't play contact. They decide where the pitches will be and where the poles will be."