Rugby and #VegasBaby

The Sands

The vintage casino,
“The Sands,” no longer
with us, but there’s still a
lot of fun to be had in Vegas!

Vegas!  Rugby!  What a pair!

I just got back from the USA Rugby Sports Medicine conference, associated with the International Rugby 7s tournament stop in Las Vegas.  What a great weekend it was!  Ranging from the clinical sessions, to the sport, to the weather….to all that Vegas has to offer, it was brilliant.  I would heartily recommend this conference to any one in clinical medicine with an interest in the sports of rugby union, rugby league and rugby sevens.

Every year at this time, in Las Vegas:  it’s worth the trip.

kerr macdoald

Drs. Hamish Kerr and Jim MacDonald:
‘selfie’ in between sessions.
Smiles = rugby matches about to commence






The conference proceedings began on Thursday night and wrapped up by late afternoon on Friday.  I had the chance to moderate some sessions.  I was so impressed with several of the speakers, recruited by my friend Michael Keating, Director of Medical Services, USA Rugby and the driving force behind this conference.

As the headline speaker on Thursday night Bob Cantu, MD. spoke about the 4th Consensus Statement on Concussion in Sport and Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE).   Among the several other wonderful speakers on the two days, Hamish Kerr, M.D., Chair of the USA Rugby Medical and Safety Committee, spoke on several occasions, as did Jonathan Hanson, M.D. ( @SportsDocSkye ), coming all the way from the Isle of Skye in Scotland.  Dr. Hanson has worked with the Scottish Rugby Union for over a decade.  Between the two of them, the conference participants got a great domestic and international perspective on the state of the sport and the associated medical management.

One of the most important lessons I gleaned from the proceedings is the existence of the excellent resource developed by the International Rugby Board (IRB) known as ‘rugby ready‘. This is an on-line resource that can be used by clinicians, parents, players, coaches, referees.  Subjects range from those which introduce the sport and its rules to best practices on injury prevention and management.  It’s fabulous, and I think represents a ‘best practices’ model:  I yearn for something similar for American Football, a one-stop site I could share with parents of youth who question me about the medical issues of getting their kids involved in that sport.

American football has a lot to learn from rugby, indeed.

FIJI fan

Fijian fan celebrating his team’s try.
Flags of all nations flew this weekend
over Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas

So, after the conference proceedings, what was the natural next step?  Heading to Sam Boyd stadium, outside of the city, to take in the sport and pageantry of the Rugby7s tournament that took place this weekend.  Under sunny, dry, 70 degree blue skies, the teams played several competitive matches, culminating with a South African victory over New Zealand in the championship cup draw.  It was such fun to soak in the culture as well–yes culture and rugby do not represent an oxymoronic pairing of words!!!  Such fun to see the Samoan fans, the Kenyan and Uruguayan fans, the French, Fijian…..the flags, the chants, the celebrations, the dancing to the beat of Bob Marley.   It was a great scene.  To my mind, it was everything sport should be.

As I wrote in my last post, we feature rugby fairly frequently in the pages of CJSM (you can check this link to see some of the offerings under keyword ‘rugby’).   As ever, check the journal out for its rich offerings of a variety of sports and clinical medical topics, follow us @cjsmonline, and keep tabs on this blog.  It may be cold in the Northern Hemisphere, but we have some topics as hot as an Australian Open match coming up soon in the journal and blog.

the macarena

Fans doing ‘the macarena.’
EVERYONE, players and spectators,
exercising at Rugby7s!

About sportingjim
I work at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio USA, where I am a specialist in pediatric sports medicine. My academic appointment as an Associate Professor of Pediatrics is through Ohio State University. I am a public health advocate for kids' health and safety. I am also the Deputy Editor for the Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine.

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