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. Read more of this post

Rugby 7’s


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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