Six Nations — a hymn to rugby

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In the President’s Box, watching South African Rugby — photo: A Brooks

One of Rugby Union’s big, international events – The Six Nations Championship – kicked off this weekend, and we’re looking forward to the great sport the event will offer through mid-March (the last competitions take place March 18).

I have a soft spot for rugby (union and league), though it is a sport I never played myself (a middle- and long-distance track runner, I would have been eaten up and spit out on the rugby pitch). I’ve lived at different times in southern Africa and New Zealand, where I was exposed to the glorious traditions of both Springbok and All Blacks rugby.  And I did my sports medicine training under Dr. Lyle Micheli, whom many know played rugby well into his sixties.  Inevitably, one gets to take care of plenty of rugby athletes when spending some time with Dr. Micheli.

Rugby is a sport that combines collision with endurance, fierce play with fluid movement.  It is also a sport about which it has been written:  “Rugby is a game for barbarians played by gentlemen. Football is a game for gentlemen played by barbarians.”  I don’t intend on offending fans of soccer/football, but I do want to emphasize the special character of so many of the players, coaches, referees and others I see in the sport of rugby.

“Building character since 1886”:  that’s how World Rugby, the sport’s international governing body states their mission.

Consequently I have become, over time, increasingly involved with USA Rugby and have written several of these CJSM blog posts on various issues related to the sport.  My interest continues to grow.

This personal interest parallels the interest CJSM has in publishing research related to the sport. Read more of this post

Rugby 7’s

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Looking forward to some sport
and some sun this weekend.

As I write, it’s early in the morning on another cold day here in the eastern half of the United States.  The “Polar Vortex” has descended again and I think colleagues in places like New York City and Philadelphia may be enjoying a ‘snow day’ today.

But if there are not an associated ‘blizzard’ of plane flight cancellations, I should be enjoying some balmy weather by tomorrow:  I’m heading to the USA Sports Medicine Rugby Conference and International Rugby 7’s tournament in Las Vegas.

As I had mentioned in my previous post about the upcoming FIMS/CASEM conference in June, among the many very interesting speakers headlining the USA Rugby event in Vegas:  Rob Cantu will be talking about “Short Term and Long Term Results of Repetitive Sub-Concussive and Concussive Head Injury” and Ann McKee will discuss “Emerging Concepts in Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy” (CTE).

I’ll get a chance to listen to some great panelists and moderate some sessions, and then I’ll get the chance to watch same great sport at Sam Boyd Stadium.   I’ll be sure to share the highlights in my next post.

And, of course, I’ll get to enjoy ‘Vegas’.  But I won’t be blogging about that.  What happens in Vegas…..

I’ve previously had the occasion to write in this blog about rugby union as well as other football codes, such as Aussie rules football. I’ve had, as well, the opportunity to interview one of USA Rugby’s Team Physicians, Dr. Bruce Miller, who has been a guest on one of our “5 Questions with CJSM” posts.

Both rugby union and rugby league have featured regularly as sports we’ve studied in the pages of the journal itself.  Last year we looked at injury prevention in rugby union; in 2012 we looked at shoulder instability in professional rugby players; and also in 2012 we looked at the proportion of time-loss and non-time-loss injuries  in first team rugby league.  This brief sampling just scratches the surface of the multiple offerings we’ve had about these great sports over the years.

But CJSM has not had any study or article on Rugby 7’s, the variant of rugby union with 7 players as opposed to 15 on a side; shorter halves; and the version of rugby which will be making its debut as an Olympic sport in two short years in Rio.  We will have to rectify that!  I suspect as the prominence of this version of the sport increases over time, we’ll be seeing more manuscript submissions focusing on the injuries and injury patterns unique to it.  In the mean time, I may just have to look for some study collaborators in between my gaming—er, my studies at the conference.

sam boyd stadium

Sam Boyd Stadium, in Las Vegas:
site of the IRB Sevens Tournament stop
in the U.S.

More soon!

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