Rugby is a contact sport and safety is important at all times. We are proud of our excellent safety record and request all parents to study the following safety guidelines:
Child Protection and Safeguarding
The Club is committed to safeguarding the welfare of children in the sport. All children are entitled to protection from harm and have the right to take part in sport in a safe, positive and enjoyable environment.
Our approach to safeguarding incorporates the RFU's Safeguarding Policy and RFU Regulation 21 (which deals specifically with safeguarding). Some aspects of RFU Regulation 15 (the detailed rules and guidance relating to Age Grade Rugby) also relate to safeguarding.
Our Club Safeguarding Officer (CSO) is Andrew Moore (firstname.lastname@example.org; 07717 207234)
Every week we have a professional first aider, John Wotton, on site who can immediately take care of any injuries. John has nearly twenty years' experience in first aid and A&E support work.
In addition all of our Head Coaches, and many of our assistant coaches, are qualified First Aiders. We run First Aid courses every season that coaches and parents are encouraged to attend.
Any player who sustains an injury on the playing field MUST NOT BE MOVED UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. If the injury is serious, professional help will be summoned immediately. If the injury is minor, the player, once recovered, must be allowed to regain his feet unaided and should not play on unless he or she feels confident in doing so.
A parent should not to bring his/her child to training if the child is "carrying" an injury from, for example, a school game or another sport.
A concussion is a temporary injury to the brain that cannot be seen on routine x-rays or scans. It affects the way a person may think and remember things for a short time, and can cause a variety of symptoms. Any blow to the head, face or neck, or a blow to the body which causes a sudden jarring of the head may cause a concussion. A player does not need to be knocked out (lose consciousness) to have had a concussion.
It is very important that a player displaying any concussion symptoms or signs does not go back to rugby (or any other sport) until they have been cleared to do so by a doctor. Return to sport and activity must follow a step-wise Graduated Return to Play. The signs and symptoms of a concussion often last for 7-10 days in adults but may last much longer, especially in younger players and children. In some cases, players may take weeks or months to recover.
The RFU has a comprehensive awareness and education programme called Headcase which includes online courses and information for players, parents, coaches and match officials. Our coaches have familiarised themselves with the content and parents should work through the parents' guide (should only take 15-20 minutes), talk to their children about concussion and encourage older children to take the players' course.
Any pre-existing medical conditions should be disclosed on the Registration form at the start of the season. For any temporary conditions such as colds and flu, please follow the normal school guidelines for the child's attendance.
Players are encouraged to bring their own drinks although all age groups also have water on hand during training sessions.
The RFU recommends that all mini rugby players should have had a preventative course of tetanus vaccinations (this will have been covered by the normal childhood schedule of DTaP vaccinations if your child has received them).
Responsibilities of Parents, Coaches and Helpers
Under Guidance from the RFU the Club cannot take legal responsibility for children whose parent or guardian leaves them during a training session or match.
Safety Notes on Clothing and Kit
The RFU recommendation is that gumshields are advisable for all children. The Club policy is that gumshields are advisable in the Under 7 and Under 8 age groups but compulsory in the Under 9 and older age groups.
Boots and Shinguards
Other than for the very youngest children, boots are highly advisable in all age groups not only to give grip but also to provide protection when other children are wearing boots. Shinguards are advisable for all age groups, particularly for front-row players in the Under 13 age group and upwards where contested scrums take place. Shinguards for use in rugby must be IRB Approved (see the note on clothing below). Football shinguards which may have a hard edge and can present a danger to a would-be tackler are not allowed in rugby.
Studs with sharp or jagged edges (such as the nylon studs commonly fitted to football boots) pose a serious danger to other players, particularly in the older age groups where there is more likelihood of children lying on the ground. Aluminium Safety Studs (which bear the BSI kite mark) are by far the safest studs to wear in Mini, Midi and Junior Rugby and your sports retailer should advise you of this if you state that the boots being purchased are for Rugby Union.
Other makes of stud, such as nylon or nylon/aluminium football studs and "blade" or "cleat" type studs, are permitted by the RFU provided they are not worn or damaged in any way. Please note that all makes of stud other than Safety Studs (especially nylon studs) will wear with use to become sharp and pose a danger to other players. Referees carry out stud checks prior to games and will not allow boots with dangerous studs to be worn.
The recommendation of the Club is that all players fit Safety Studs for Mini, Midi and Youth Rugby. The Club keeps a stock of Safety Studs and these are available for sale to players on Sundays. Please note that moulded rubber studs sometimes worn by younger children are acceptable footwear for Mini, Midi and Youth Rugby.
Missing studs can present a danger to the wearer and to others. The wearer can slip unexpectedly with possible injury. It is important that parents check their children's boots regularly for missing or loose studs.
The RFU is running a long-term (going into its fourth year) trial scheme on the use of sports goggles at U13 and below.
Under the scheme, players can wear sports goggles if
- the sports goggles are dispensed by a registered dispensing optician who is a member of the Association of British Dispensing Opticians (“ABDO”); and
- the player has written confirmation from the ABDO dispensing optician that the sports goggles:
- are required to correct the vision of the player or are required to protect the player’s eyes due to a medical condition, to enable the playing of Rugby Union; and
- do not substantially restrict any normal field of vision and are suitable for use in evasion contact sports; and
- do not constitute a physical danger to the player or other players
The club also has to file some paperwork, so if your child is in this position it's important that you let us know as soon as possible.
The sports goggles trial policy doesn't apply at U14 or above; in some circumstances exceptional approval for the use of sports goggles by Youth players can be given, so talk to us if you think this may apply to you.
The Club supplies, at a competitive cost, good quality rugby jerseys, socks and shorts in club colours to all children and these should be worn for all training sessions and matches not least for the protection they offer. If children provide their own rugby shorts they should be of the same quality - nylon football shorts are not recommended. As winter approaches it is ESSENTIAL that children bring a good quality tracksuit (or equivalent), plus a woolly hat to training sessions. Wearing several thin layers under the rugby jersey helps to retain warmth in cold weather.
Parents may be aware that Law 4 of the RFU "Laws of the Game" specifies the types of clothing acceptable in the game of Rugby Union. The acceptable makes of protective shoulder padding and headgear increasingly being worn by Mini Rugby players from their first year of contact rugby (Under 9 upwards) are also covered by Law 4 - i.e. they must bear the IRB Approval Mark. The need for very young players to wear such protective equipment is the subject of some debate within the RFU, not least in relation to the cost of such equipment which is likely to be rapidly outgrown. From a safety point of view some coaches feel that the equipment encourages players to feel (and therefore act) as if they are invulnerable and this can lead to dangerous play. Parents should be aware that while the equipment does help to reduce the number of abrasions players of all ages incur during a game it provides no significant protection against more serious injury.
Fingerless mittens are also permitted under Law 4 and are a particularly useful in keeping small hands warm in cold and/or wet weather. The Club keeps a stock of mittens and these are available for sale to players on Sundays.
Under no circumstances should a player arrive for training, a match or a festival wearing a watch or jewellery or carrying (e.g. in pocket) toys or similar objects.
Although not strictly a safety issue, it should be noted that the Club can take no responsibility for an individual's personal property such as wallets and mobile phones.