"Protect children, remove contact"
"Rugby union has a relatively high risk of injury compared with other team sports"
(Roberts et al. 2016)
Injuries in rugby union (the most common form of rugby both in the United Kingdom and worldwide), like many other contact team sports, are common occurrences for participants (Archbold et al., 2017). In rugby, an injury is defined by a player being injured in a game and unable to take part in future training or game play, meaning the small bumps and scrapes are not included.
"The probability of a player getting injured over a season is between 9% for the U9–U12 age group and 98% for the U18 age group" (Freitag et al., 2015).
In a recent study of 825 16-year-old schoolboy rugby players in Norther Ireland, 426 injuries were recorded over a season, with 36.5% of the participants in the study receiving at least one injury across . This equated to an incidence rate of 29.06 injuries per 1000 playing hours.
Most worrying, 208 of the 426 (48.8%) injuries resulted in excess of 28 days away from play
The tackle is the primary cause of injuries
Most injuries in rugby union are a product of the tackle. The last three published studies on youth or schools rugby in the United Kingdom show that the tackle accounts for between 57% and 63% of all injuries (Haseler, Carmont and England, 2010; Palmer-Green et al. 2013; Archbold et al. 2017).
"Proponents of the sport claim there is little evidence of excess risk in school age players…. emerging work suggests a heavier burden of injury in the paediatric rugby population than was previously suggested" (Carter, 2015).
In New Zealand, researchers compared the risk of injury and claims between various different activities. Rugby had a higher risk and accident claim rate than cycling for transport, DIY, horse riding, quad biking and snow sports (Chieng et al. 2017).