Will you let your son play rugby?

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Max and Maxine
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Will you let your son play rugby?

Postby Max and Maxine » Fri Sep 15, 2023 9:57 am

I have a 8 yr old who is about to start playing touch rugby at school and is asking if he can play at Ironsides. Having seen the various neurological illnesses that are being highlighted I am not sure that I want him to play at all. I'm wondering what others with sons are thinking.
 
Looking forward does anyone know if you can ask for your son not to play rugby at school? It seems to be the default sport at many of the all- boys independent schools.
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Moonlightdawn
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Re: Will you let your son play rugby?

Postby Moonlightdawn » Fri Sep 15, 2023 10:40 am

My father was a very serious rugby player in his youth. He played at his school (one of the top teams in the country) and then a talent spotter asked him to join the Harlequins. He went to university and played there too.

He's now in his 70s. Mentally, he is completely lucid, thank goodness. Such a relief in light of the head injuries he must have suffered. In those days (1960s), they didn't pay much attention. No depression or anxiety either in my father, thankfully.

Physically, his knees, shoulders, back and neck are not in good shape. He has recurring pain due to all the sprains and strains he endured. The long-term impact of his rugby injuries are clear to see. He was also kicked in the mouth at 18 years old and had to replace his front teeth.

I also have an 8-year old son and I won't let him play rugby. My main worry would be head trauma.
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waltzer
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Re: Will you let your son play rugby?

Postby waltzer » Fri Sep 15, 2023 12:03 pm

I'm not sure to be honest. My son got so much out of rugby and team sports are amazing for boys. Luckily he only ever got bruised badly, nothing more. On the plus side they are making changes to the rules every season which will help with safety, particularly head injuries.

With regards to school and rugby I am very keen to hear what others have to say. All boys schools do seem to be a 'football' or 'rugby' school. I would suggest checking out non rugby schools as opposed to having your son sit on the sidelines and feel like he is missing out. There are a few years to go, who who knows what other changes will have happened by then. Maybe schools won't have a choice other than to offer an alternative?
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juliantenniscoach
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Re: Will you let your son play rugby?

Postby juliantenniscoach » Fri Sep 15, 2023 4:43 pm

I don't think I can post a PDF here but rest assured both the schools and the RFU are right on the case with the dangers of head injuries here.  Rugby for youngsters is a completely different game than when I played.  I'd have no issue with my children playing in schools or clubs.

Google - Graduated Return to Activity & Sport by the RFU  & Headcase - Essential Guide to recognise and managing concussion.
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Balhamberry
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Re: Will you let your son play rugby?

Postby Balhamberry » Sun Sep 17, 2023 9:51 pm

My son plays/ has played football, cricket, rugby, hockey with local clubs and teams. In my experience, rugby (Ironsides) is the hands down most safety conscious and I have full confidence that every coach there prioritises - and teaches- safe play. Massive priority, with regular briefings for both the parents and boys about what is and isn’t acceptable, and any injuries (rare occurrence) are properly assessed and recovery periods strictly adhered to. Personally, I feel much more anxious with football (various local clubs) as I just don’t feel the coaches are as “on it” with their vigilance and training.
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Doglover99
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Re: Will you let your son play rugby?

Postby Doglover99 » Mon Sep 18, 2023 7:24 am

Both my sons played at a local school and they loved it. I however was I was mostly terrified and with every concussion (one of them had at least 4-5) I prayed for a full recovery. It’s not so bad when they are in the younger years but when they get to teenagers some of the players are massive. Injuries included a broken nose and various sprains. For them though the benefits of being in a team were massive and both joined Ironsides too! They made friends for life and that is important.
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DavidWT
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Re: Will you let your son play rugby?

Postby DavidWT » Mon Sep 18, 2023 10:38 am

Its really easy to become extremely cautious with this sort of thing when its your own children. I totally get it. However what I would say is that the rugby clubs including Ironsides are extremely rigorous on safety these days due to the obvious nature of the sport.  Your son will start with non-contact Rugby first (tag or touch) until he has reached a certain age (sorry I can't recall specifically what age) and they generally don't include scrums until a certain age and ability, and when they do this is carefully introduced.  Until then they focus their training on drills, passing, tackling and the basic foundations of the game. Also to help further your son could wear protective headgear - most do I recall (mouthguards are compulsory).  Its a fantastic game, if your son is keen I wouldn't hesitate. And if he enjoys it he will be eternally grateful!       
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bullascrunchie
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Re: Will you let your son play rugby?

Postby bullascrunchie » Mon Sep 25, 2023 9:24 am

Took my year 11 son to A&E on the weekend..the school team lost particularly badly and saw a number of his school friends at hospital for various injuries that my son also mentioned had happened eg one of his mates had his eyelid cut, another with a dislocated finger.

To add, there were many other kids in rugby kits from other schools also in A&E.

Lastly, the doc said we should give up rugby as every weekend he sees injury upon injury - all rugby related.

My son isn’t giving up though. It’s a brilliant game, the camaraderie is brill amongst the team and the parents.
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Balhamqueen
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Re: Will you let your son play rugby?

Postby Balhamqueen » Mon Sep 25, 2023 10:41 am

I agree with what everyone says about Ironsides - it's a marvellous and responsible club. Both my boys are Ironside boys and do other sports too The first one started when he was 8 and is now 16 and still plays for his school. Even at this age I would say it's mainly dangerous only when you play for A or B teams at school. And it's mainly around the age of 14;15 plus when the boys are much bigger and stronger when it gets quite full on. My younger has played for the last 6 years, since reception, and also absolutely loves it. It's great for their confidence, team skills, friendships. Just to give things some more context - we've only had two major sport injuries that required a trip to A&E - my older one was badly hurt playing hockey and my younger one had a cricket ball in his eye. Super scary. So none related to rugby. I really don't think rugby deserves the reputation it has, especially when played at this age and at responsible clubs and schools
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CvoM
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Re: Will you let your son play rugby?

Postby CvoM » Tue Sep 26, 2023 12:33 pm

I have always been wary of rugby having witnessed both my brothers suffer serious injury but I let me eldest because it was his passion. I say was....at the age of 16/17 he had a catastrophic rugby accident which has left him unable to ever again play rugby, football, skiing (possibly), water sports, riding (it was only when we had the opportunity this summer that we again saw the added risk for him) and probably lots more besides. It was a freak accident but it busted his hip in numerous places and his femur. It was an innocuous tackle, not fast paced, not illegal. But it is a brutal game. Even before his accident I worried a bit about life long impact of so much head bashing. The medics have warned him if something like this ever happened again they wouldn't be able to put him together again as well as they have this time. If that could happen on such a seemingly innocent tackle I hate to think what something much worse (high tackle, wrong angle, faster) could do. Not an easy decision to make so good luck with whatever you decide.
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GigiBuffon
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Re: Will you let your son play rugby?

Postby GigiBuffon » Mon Oct 02, 2023 7:20 am

My message is not as current as those of most responders here but here goes.

I saw my brother’s experiences of playing rugby 20 and 30 years ago and they were not pretty.

His first experiences of getting fall down drunk were all after childhood rugby matches in secondary school, continuing with getting drunk after games on tour and then at university. The culture of drinking was never about drinking wine with food it was drinking standing up outside a pub and polishing off over 10 pints fast. The university rugby team initiation games were disgusting - being forced to eat dog food while being shouted at was at the better end of these. Poisonous quantities of drinking were obligatory then, too.

The better / older he got - playing at county, then university level - the bigger the rugby opposition became. If you look at rugby players in the 50s-80s vs. players now, their build (and potential to do damage, when that weight is coming at high speed towards you) is completely different. My brother stopped playing ultimately because he would need to eat 5000-10000 extra calories to get the extra body mass he was told he needed and that eating / swilling protein shakes was expensive and took over your life. I don’t think he much liked getting knocked down by people 5 stone heavier, either. Being fast and skilful were not enough. You needed to get ripped. As with American football - except without the protective headgear. That extra weight promotes risk that then causes injury.

The rugby game commitment is so full on that it provides a home / second family, for those inside it, even for the parents. What I saw in my brother’s own experience - especially the toxic drinking culture - left me jaded about both the game and the social life. The coaches let them drink way too much and didn’t supervise / put limits on any of that.

What went on on the rugby pitch at ages 8-12 was not a guide to what lay ahead, which is why I wanted to recount it for those who haven’t seen ahead to that level before.

I have friends who played women’s rugby at school and university and despite drinking playing a part, the scene was not nearly as dangerous / seedy by comparison to the boys’. No pressure to drink more or do stupid things.
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