Rugby is one of the world’s top three participation sports and is the national pastime in countries such as South Africa, Wales, and New Zealand. Most notably, rugby is played throughout a wide spectrum of age groups in these countries and participation is encouraged at a young age.
Though the growth of youth rugby in the USA is slower than other countries, it is beginning to gain popularity at the youth level for its emphasis on teamwork, fitness and fun. The pathway into rugby even starts at the kindergarten level, and introduces elements such as running, carrying the ball, and cooperating among teammates. At each level, new ideas and skills are added which develop a player for the adult game. At all stages, the emphasis is on honoring the game, playing safely and having fun.
Injuries seen in rugby are the same as those seen in any contact or collision sport. They include muscle sprains, ligament strains, bone fractures, lacerations (cuts), and contusions (bruises).
The mechanisms of acute rugby injuries are identical to those of general pediatric trauma cases. In other words, the sprained ankle of a youngster who tumbles down the stairs at home is no different from the adolescent rugby player’s sprained ankle.
These injuries should be managed identically, with the criterion for rehabilitation being complete restoration of strength, range of motion, and balance.
We believe that in the U.S. rugby will increasingly be regarded as a vigorous, physically demanding sport that can be played safely by Americans of all ages.
As part of its mandate to provide safety resources for youth rugby programs, USA Rugby is pleased to present the accompanying information on enhancing safety in youth rugby. Read the full USA Rugby Medical and Safety Guide here.
Center for Disease Control Concussion information – www.cdc.gov/concussion
National Athletic Trainers Association information covering common sport injuries, prevention and treatment – www.nata.org/health-issues