Having sons and being married to a rugby-obsessed Welshman, it was fairly inevitable that at least one of my sons would end up playing rugby. As it turned out all three caught the rugby bug. My eldest son played until he left school and both of my younger sons play both at school and for a local club. They love it. Many other sports have been tried and left along the wayside. They love playing it, talking about it and watching it.
As a parent, I have to admit that I have really mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, the fact that the boys are playing a sport and training regularly is a good thing. If they didn’t play rugby, I strongly suspect that the only exercise that they would get would be the exercising of thumbs on the Xbox. So it is good to see them getting up on a Sunday morning and coming back with a healthy glow in their cheeks. I don’t even mind the large quantity of the muddy rugby field that returns with them and the huge pile of washing.
Along with the actual rugby training, there are other training sessions and visits to a gym. They also enjoy going to watch rugby matches with their dad. It is all really positive.
But. And it is a big but. Rugby is a dangerous sport. Where there are chances of injury in pretty much any sport, in my opinion, rugby is up there as one of the worst offenders. As a contact sport, injuries are inevitable. It is a physical game, with a long list of possible injuries from minor to much more serious. There are lots of collisions in the game, particular head knocks and concussion is a real worry as many people can have a concussion without any symptoms and can feel fine immediately after with the symptoms only appearing a few hours or even days after the head knock. Sarah from Mum of Three World blogged about her son’s concussion last week and it can take a few weeks to get over. I think some people don’t realise how bad concussion can be, it is a brain injury after all. Luckily, clubs do stop players from training and playing for at least three weeks after a case of concussion or even suspected concussion which is a good thing. Like Sarah, I encourage my two to wear head guards too, they don’t offer up a huge amount of protection but something is better than nothing.
The older teen has become a really good player. He plays for his school and local club team and also trains as part of a development program for a bigger club. Last week we found out that he has been selected to play for the county squad too which is an incredible achievement for him and I couldn’t be prouder. He is living and breathing rugby at the moment and loving it and it does seem like his hard work is paying off.
In spite of my mixed feelings, I’m not going to come between him and his sport, I will always encourage and support him if that is what he wants to do. But I will always worry too. He is fearless on a rugby field and will tackle anyone, however big they are. That is a good thing apparently so I will just have to hope that any injuries are minor ones and that he keeps on enjoying the game.