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United States Rugby Foundation to Back High School Rugby Injury Study

December 6, 2004

San Diego, CA (December 6, 2004) –The United States Rugby Foundation held its annual Board of Trustees and Directors meeting at its new headquarters at San Diego’s Hall of Champions over the past weekend. Along with the introduction of a new Executive Director and six new Directors, the meeting included the Foundation Board’s pledge to support a high school rugby online injury study.The high school rugby online injury study was one of three components offered in the proposal to the Foundation, the other two parts being an online study of catastrophic rugby injuries in the United States and a female collegiate online injury study.Dr. Lyle Micheli, United States Rugby Foundation Director and member of USA Rugby’s Medical and Risk Management Committee presented the proposal to the Foundation Board.“There have been other studies around the world but there has been no previous injury studies in relation to high school rugby in the United States prior to this one,” said Dr. Micheli. “Concussion is a big worry with parents and school administrators. This study may just provide the insight we need to see the long-term effect of concussion on the rugby pitch with these young athletes.”Foundation Chairman Bob Watkins agreed on the importance of the study and the Foundation’s involvement.“Although the other two components of the proposal are certainly worth researching, the Foundation, with our history of supporting youth rugby, thought this was a perfect fit and falls right into what we can contribute to the game here,” said Watkins. “Injuries in the game are always a concern, especially at the lower levels when participants are just learning proper technique.”The study, headed up by Dr. Dawn Comstock, an Associate Professor in the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Columbus Children’s Hospital and The Ohio State University, College of Medicine and experienced rugby player, coach and referee, sees the value of the study from both a medical perspective and as a rugby player interested in making the game as safe as enjoyable as possible.“The growth of rugby in the U.S. depends on the sport taking hold in the high schools and colleges, areas where we are having trouble establishing the sport because of the perception that rugby is dangerous. We cannot prove our sport is no more dangerous than other contact sports because we have no prior data. This study will provide us the data we need.”All high school rugby players whose teams are registered with USA Rugby will be part of the one-year study.