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Home > About USRF > Press Releases > 2006 Press Releases > January 9, 2006

Press Release

United States Rugby Foundation Provides
Grant for 2006 Rugby RIO™ High School Injury Study

San Diego, CA (January 9, 2006) - The United States Rugby Foundation continues to put safety and risk management as one of the organization's high priorities by providing a $14,000 grant for the 2006 Rugby RIO™ High School Injury Study. The announcement was made by Foundation Executive Director Brian Vizard on the heels of the recently completed 2005 Rugby RIO™ High School Injury Study.

"The information collected from the initial 2005 Rugby RIO™ Study will prove invaluable in years to come, especially as more and more high school teams are being established throughout the country," said Vizard. "The investment will be a good one if the study can prevent just one serious injury in the future."

With the increased number of high school teams and players across the country, the study was long overdue according to Dr. Dawn Comstock, Assistant Professor at The Ohio State University, College of Medicine and at the Columbus Children's Research Institute's Center for Injury Research and Policy, and head of the Rugby RIO™ study.

"The rapid increase in the number of US high school rugby players has presented unprecedented opportunities for the growth of the sport in the US. However, these opportunities are threatened by concerns about the risk of injury associated with playing rugby. The Rugby RIO™ High School Study provided us with a unique chance to calculate injury rates among US high school rugby players and to identify risk factors for injury among this population."

All high school teams registered with USA Rugby were invited to take part in the initial study. While some of the findings were expected the data also included some surprising statistics.

"Going into the study we expected that the largest proportion of injuries would occur while a player was tackling or being tackled but some findings were surprising," said Dr. Comstock, herself a rugby player, coach and referee. "For example, over a quarter of the injuries were severe enough to keep the athlete from participating in rugby for 22 days or more. Most concerning was our finding that one out of five injuries sustained by US high school rugby players were injuries to the head, most of which were concussions.

"Also distressing was our finding that 5% of the injuries sustained in matches were attributed directly to action that was ruled illegal activity/foul play by a referee or disciplinary committee. While referees are responsible for penalizing foul play on the field, a commitment should be made by coaches, parents, and athletes to eliminate this avoidable injury risk from the game."

Dr. Comstock is looking forward to the 2006 study.

"The Rugby RIO™ research team is excited to continue the nationwide surveillance of high school rugby injuries. We are committed to making this exciting sport as safe as possible and continued injury surveillance is critically important. We would not be able to work toward these goals without the continued generous support of the USRF."

She also stressed the need for more high school teams' participation.

"The more teams that participate in the 2006 injury surveillance project, the more we can learn about how to decrease the injury rate in US high school rugby."

Teams interested in participating can contact Dr. Comstock at 614-722-2400 or comstocd@pediatrics.ohio-state.edu to learn more about the project and to enroll.

The United States Rugby Foundation is a 501 (c) 3 not-for-profit organization with a mission to promote and publicize the amateur sport of Rugby in the United States by making grants to organizations and individuals supporting the Foundation's goals and by sponsoring programs that encourage the development of youth rugby and support the education and training of coaches, referees and players.

For more information about the Foundation, go to its website at: www.usrugbyfoundation.org.