When parents run through the list of sports their kids might play in elementary and middle school, rugby rarely comes to mind. But rugby boosters like Alex Goff are out to change all that, arguing, for one, that rugby is very safe.
No tackling is involved until high school and, says Goff, as concussion concerns have brought football tackling under scrutiny, sports medicine experts have been looking to rugby for answers:
“All the talk about changing concussion protocols in sports has led to using approaches rugby teams have used for years – mandatory and strict stand-down times; medical release for players.”
If you’re wondering whether rugby is right for your child, you might try catching a live stream of the U.S. and England women’s rugby teams battling it out today in Dublin to see who will advance to the Women’s Rugby World Cup semifinals. World Rugby will be streaming the match live with video highlights to follow.
In the meantime, here are 7 good reasons rugby lovers say you and your child should think about putting rugby into their seasonal sport rotation.
Rugby is safe: Rugby players don’t wear pads, says UK rugby news website, and that, says those in the know, is one big reason why it’s so safe. Lyle J. Micheli, MD, past president of the American College of Sports Medicine, explains why. “Without the protective equipment, the rugby player doesn’t have the same disregard for the safety of his or her head, neck, and shoulders when tackling or trying to break through a tackle.” The other big reason rugby is safe, is because it’s a game of possession and there is no blocking, so players who don’t have the ball, don’t get hit.
Rugby builds strong bodies: Rugby is a high intensity, full body workout that builds strong bodies and agility faster than just about any other sport
Rugby builds community: Everyone who plays team sports feels the same way: Theirs is the best team ever. Rugby teams are no different, says, Natalie Lambert, who plays rugby and believes all other girls should too. “You get very weirdly close to your rugby team that you really do become a family. You have team dinners. You tell each other everything and make friends you will keep forever.” What’s more rugby players worldwide stick together. “Regardless of where you go, if you say that you play rugby you will instantly make friends. In another state, country, or continent, it doesn’t matter. “
Rugby is an equal opportunity sport: All body types are welcome, girls can play just as well as boys, and there’s a position for everyone. Small kids who are fast can have great rugby futures as wingers, while bigger stronger kids make perfect forwards.
Rugby is fun: People who play the sport love it. Maybe that’s because, says, Goff, “Unlike just about any other team sport, rugby is about all players having the same opportunity to run with the ball, pass the ball, and play defense.
Rugby is never boring: In rugby there are timeouts, no standing in the outfield waiting for a ball to come your way. It’s 80 minutes of nonstop play. So for kids who don’t like standing still, rugby is perfect.
Rugby is empowering: Because it’s physically and mentally challenging, rugby helps kids build confidence and resilience that will serve them well on and off the pitch. “Playing rugby makes you feel fast, agile, and strong,” said Natalie Lambert in her piece 7 Reasons Why You Should Play Women’s Rugby for the Odyssey. “Sometimes I still get scared and I’ve been playing for four years. But you go on the field, and you feel powerful. You feel like you have total control of your body, of your mind, and of the game.”