Rugby’s Big Year(s)


Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas Nevada, site of the annual Rugby 7s tournament.

It’s amazing how time flies.  How is it already March?

It’s almost 7 p.m. and I’m writing by the light of a sun that is still above the horizon, thanks to one of my favorite inventions of the modern world: daylight savings time, which arrived last night.

This realization is a personal reminder, however, that I have been delinquent: meaning to write a blog post about an event that took place three weeks ago…..but, my oh my, business has just swamped me, I guess.

As the swallows return annually to San Juan Capistrano, so do the Rugby 7 squads of Kenya, South Africa, New Zealand and other countries come each February to the desert:  Las Vegas hosted the USA leg of the HSBC Sevens Series Feb 13 – 15.  It is the largest annual rugby tournament held in North America. and Las Vegas has been its host since 2010.

As followers of the blog will know, USA Rugby conducts an outstanding medical symposium every year just prior to the tournament, and I was out for some education as well as sport.  It was a fabulous conference, and I do hope you all get a chance to attend some day.

Tim Hewett, who is well known to readers of this blog, gave a great talk on original research of the difference in injury rates between collegiate rugby and American football players.  We are most definitely looking forward to seeing that research published.  Hey, Tim, if you’re looking for a place to send that manuscript for peer review, send it our way.

His colleague from Ohio State, the orthopaedic surgeon and OSU Team Doc Chris Kaeding, gave a great talk as well, regarding data on knee outcomes coming out of the ‘Multicenter Othopaedic Outcomes Network,’ or MOON group, some of whose research we have published in CJSM.

With the George North story on everyone’s mind, we were all eager to hear what concussion experts such as Chris Nowinski of the Sports Legacy Institute had to say about minimizing injury risk in rugby.  Nowinski presented one of the best and most nuanced talks I have heard on the ‘concussion crisis’ in sports. I enjoyed it so much I caught up with him after the conference, and the interview I had with him is now available as a podcast.

I lectured on screening for Sudden Cardiac Death in athletes, along with my colleague Richard Kim, M.D.  Dr. Kim took the ‘pro’ side and I took the ‘con’ side (no rotten tomatoes were thrown at me).  For both of our ‘sides,’  we looked intensively at so much of the work published on this issue, including some great research from Jonathan Drezner and Domenico Corrado published in CJSM in 2011, as well as work done more recently in 2014 by Chad Asplund and Irfan Asif.


Can’t we all just get along? Sure we can!

Three weeks down the road, I’m still pumped up by the conference and the sport. 2015 is a big year for rugby, with the World Cup set to take place in the U.K. at the end of the year.  And, arguably, 2016 is an even bigger year:  rugby will be returning to the Olympics in Rio. As most of you know, the rugby being played in Rio will in fact be Rugby Sevens, the very version of the game which we all enjoyed in Las Vegas a few weeks ago (‘Rugby fifteens’ is the traditional version, being played in the World Cup).

Rugby in all its forms is a great sport.  The medicine associated with it is challenging and exciting.  There is great research being conducted on that very subject.  Besides following us, to learn more about Rugby medicine follow on Twitter the Rugby Science Network and BokSmart.  And to stay on top of the big events in 2015 and 2016 by all means follow USARugby and WorldRugby.

It’s going to be a great couple of years.

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.

2 Responses to Rugby’s Big Year(s)

  1. rugbyscience says:

    Reblogged this on Rugby Science.

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