Following a plea from doctors to ban tackling in school rugby on safety grounds, a group of academics has also called on the government to stop children’s human cannonball lessons.
The pastime, which has a near 100% fatality rate, is very popular among some parents and teachers, who say it builds character and is the only way of getting rid of the little bastards.
Rules vary across different parts of the country, but participants are generally loaded into a large cannon and fired at a tiny net some way away. Ofsted have complained that many schools are missing their targets.
Doctors warn that ‘high-impact’ activities like this can cause injuries including fractures, ligamentous tears and dislocated shoulders, although the main cause of death is usually simple ‘flattening’.
Johnny Angry, a PE teacher and father of nine at St Foolhardy’s School for Boys in the village of Harold – where human cannonball is compulsory from the age of 11 – says it provides a challenge.