Many parents in Singapore are wary about their children playing rugby. Their worry is understandable because they think that rugby is a dangerous sport that may cause injuries to their child. This misconception may also be aggravated when they see images of rugby players with their heads wrapped in bandages or limping like the walking wounded on television.
In the past (1970’s to 1990’s), kids in Singapore would only start playing rugby in secondary school. Rugby as an extra-curricular activity was non-existent in primary school. And the reason why these kids played rugby in secondary school can be narrowed down to these 2 reasons.
A ) Their parents (ie. the father) has played rugby before and gave the full support for his son to play the sport.
B ) The son was fortunate enough to be in one of the few schools with strong rugby traditions. These schools were Saint Andrew’s, Raffles Institution, Anglo Chinese School, Dunearn Technical Secondary and to some extent Whitley Secondary
Of course, the rugby landscape in Singapore has changed tremendously over the years. Now rugby is a co-curricular activity in many primary schools. There are also numerous clubs that offer rugby training for boys and girls from the ages of 7 onwards.
Despite this, parents in Singapore still does not consider the sport safe for their kids. Like any sport, rugby isn’t without risk. However, if the kids are equipped with the correct technical skills and mentality, this will help to greatly minimize injuries. In addition, good warm-ups, stretching and cool-downs helps prevent injuries
“According to Sports Medicine Australia, there are around 16 injuries for every 1,000 hours of rugby played by schoolchildren. Over 50% of these injuries are classed as minimal or mild and result in no missed games.”
For Jamie Roberts, a doctor and also a Welsh international rugby player, it is no surprise that parents ask him about the dangers of their children playing rugby.
Roberts, who graduated as a doctor in 2013, understands the concerns but believes the key to making rugby safer, while retaining the spirit of the sport, is to ensure that children are taught how to tackle safely.
“If they are playing and it is contact rugby, then it is very important that they are shown how to tackle properly. Coaching for kids has improved incredibly over the years.
Guidelines for Safe Rugby
Indeed, the coaches are more qualified and experienced and rugby training facilities has improved in Singapore. Sports Singapore has even come out with a Safe Rugby Guide on making rugby a safe sport and how to prevent injuries.
Wearing the proper gear also increases the child’s safety.Before training or games, the kids can prepare themselves by making sure that they use the appropriate protective gear during the sport.
Mouth guards are recommended for players during matches and training sessions. A functional mouth guard should protect the player’s teeth and its surrounding soft tissue, as well as prevent a broken jaw. Those made from a dental mould usually provide the best protection. To be on the safe side, ensure that mouth guards are replaced every season.
Initially, it may be uncomfortable for the kids when they are using the mouth guard for the first time. It also makes it harder for them to talk. However, after using them for a couple of times, the kids will get used to it
Footwear for the players should be in good condition and appropriate for the playing surface. Proper playing boots will prevent the child from slipping on the field and reduce ankle injuries.
Scrum Caps and Head Guards
To prevent soft tissue injuries to the head and ears, properly fitted headgear should be worn.. Wearing a scrum cap keeps the player’s ears flat against his / her head to prevent injuries
Kids who are just starting to learn rugby will not be exposed to contact rugby immediately. They will start off with non-contact rugby (or touch rugby). They will be taught the fundamentals of passing, catching, kicking, agility drills and body conditioning.
Once equipped with these basic skills, they will be taught on the proper and safe way to tackle, to break a fall after being tackled, and the technical skills of rucking and mauling.
Ready For Games
Most kids would be eager to play in a game. However, the child will only be allowed to participate in a rugby game once the coaches are fully satisfied that the child is highly proficient with the technical skills. They will then be taught on other aspects of the game such as positional play, mentality, etc,
General Tips for Preventing Rugby Injuries
- Ensure that the players are aware of the proper techniques for the sport, i.e. the right way to tackle an opponent or the right way to break a fall •
- Ensure that adequate and appropriate gear are worn during the game
- Warm up, stretch and cool down before and after playing
- Take frequent short breaks during practice and games
- Develop a conditioning programme weeks before a match to ensure that the body is accustomed to the sport
Come Join Us!
At Eastern Rebels Rugby, children’s safety during training and games is of upmost importance. In addition, when you sign up your child for our training programme, he or she will be automatically covered by our insurance plan against any injures incurred during training or games.
We conduct rugby trainings for boys and girls from the ages of 10 to 18 years old. We believe that every child should have the opportunity to learn rugby regardless of social and economic background, ethnicity or the school that they are from.
Rugby is a game that will benefit your child in many other ways. It will help to develop other positive values for your child.
We hope that we have addressed your concerns about you child learning rugby and join us.