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The Blue & Gray Press | May 23, 2018

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Concussion protocol not enough for UMW ruggers

Concussion protocol not enough for UMW ruggers


Staff writer

When choosing a club sport in college, students consider the risk of injury risk in the sport. The risk, usually, is not a deterring factor. However, many student athletes or club members do not take into account how easily their life can be altered by a sport related injury.

UMW’s Rugby teams have consistently talented players, which the university recognizes as Division I. With constant dedication and effort throughout the years, UMW Rugby now plays many big name schools.

When asked how many concussions occurred last spring on the women’s Rugby team, players Emily Gaetjen and Temi Ogungbade said they remembered witnessing at least two of their teammates receiving concussions that semester. When asked if she had gotten any concussions from rugby, Gaetjen said she has not had any during her time at UMW but has had two from playing rugby in high school.

Rugby is a brutal sport. With players taking down the opposing team with great force, many  matches end with an injury. Many end up getting tumbled to the ground, often resulting in them hitting their heads without any protective headgear. This leaves players completely vulnerable for a head injury or getting trampled by other players.

In 2015, the Rugby Football Union declared that the amount of players who suffered concussions, “increased by 59 percent,” according to The Telegraph. The severity ranged by different degrees. There was still a high percentage of Rugby players being faced with head injuries. The Union reported that, “there are 10.5 concussions per 1,000 playing hours.”

Concussions can be costly injuries which can take up a huge portion of time and even leave the player in a recuperation period, sidelining them from the sport and deeming them unable to operate well in the classroom. UMW’s Rugby coaches, however, try their hardest to prevent permanent injuries, often when a player seems as though they may have a concussion, the coaches will immediately put that player in the concussion protocol, providing them with rest and the proper care that they require.

Although the protocol is helpful, the process does little to nothing to actually prevent concussions. The way the game is played, completely neglects the protection of players due to the lack of head gear.

In reality, rugby does not have the same concussion rate as football.The aggressive nature of the sport sets the stage for whether or not more precautions should be taken when playing matches.


  1. Kris Kabza - Coach, UMW Women's Rugby

    The reference that concussions “increased by 59 percent” and the “10.5 concussions per 1,000 playing hours” are statistics for the English Premiership League – a league of professionals, similar to the NFL.

    These statistics should not be applied to the college or amateur level.