rookie rugby safety


Rookie Rugby uses flags for a safe introduction to rugby!

Rugby is a great option to consider and you will be happy you did! USA Rugby is committed to the safety and well-being of everyone involved in the sport. Let us help you learn more about rugby and why it is the best choice you as a player, or for your son or daughter, as a parent/guardian.

USA Rugby is proud to offer both non-contact and contact versions of rugby all over the U.S.A. The Rookie Rugby program is a non-contact version of the game, keeping it safe for kids of all ages. It is the first step in USA Rugby’s player pathway, introducing the newest Olympic sport in a fun, safe way for boys and girls of all ages.

Safety is Our Primary Concern

USA Rugby and YHS understands that safety is one of the primary concerns when starting with rugby, for both players and parents. We are committed to this concern and have developed a plethora of materials, trainings, regulations, and resources that ensure all players, coaches and referees remain safe in this great game.

Rookie Rugby is the non-contact version of the game. It is a great introduction to the game that helps keep kids healthy, moving and having fun. The curriculum is integrated across multiple subjects (health, nutrition, global studies and physical education) and meets national and state Physical Education standards.

USA Rugby and YHS are dedicated to the safety of rugby through:

  • • Appropriate training and education for all coaches working with youth rugby players
  • • Appropriate training and education for all rugby referees for management of the game
  • • Resources and materials available on and
  • • Rugby insurance provided through USA Rugby membership for registered members

Rugby is a Safe Sport

USA Rugby and YHS are proud participants in the safe sport movement, and have zero tolerance policies towards bullying, hazing, harassment and all forms of abuse. Visit for more information or to report misconduct.


USA Rugby and YHS place player welfare and safety at the very top of our priorities. This is especially true with concussions and head injuries.
Visit YHS Concussion for more information.

Coaching Safety

USA Rugby and YHS are dedicated to the safety of all athletes on and off the field. We understand that ultimately, the coach is responsible for maintaining a safe environment for his or her players. It is important to maintain safety for players and others involved at all times, including before, during, and after training sessions and games.

As a general rule of thumb, you should always act as any reasonable parent would do in the same circumstances.


  • USA Rugby recommends all coaches and volunteer coaches register as USA Rugby Coaching Members. All coaching members are background checked and receive top safety information including child protection and concussion protocol.


  • Emergency Action Plan (EAP) – Be sure to have an EAP for all practices and games. This plan outlines the steps to take should something happen. It contains all relevant information for local safety officials, hospitals, etc.
  • Assess the Venue – Environmental conditions can pose a safety threat for players and should be assessed prior to any athletic activity. For example, checking the field for divots or rocks can prevent injuries from occurring. Do a thorough check of the venue before every practice or game.
  • Know Your Player – This is probably the most important check that a coach can do. Each child is different and understanding their athletic ability, their injuries, and their limitations will help you in your role as a coach.


  • Dangerous Situations – All coaches should be ready and able to stop activity if there is a danger to any participants. This can include things like weather conditions such as lightning or extreme heat/cold.
  • Enhance the Learning – Children learn best when they are having fun and being successful. Small-sided games are great for introducing new skills and allowing players to learn and perfect. Avoid drills with lines of players standing around.
  • • Back-up Plan – Always be prepared to have a back-up plan at the off chance something affects your session or game. Great coaches are flexible and put their players’ welfare first no matter what.


  • Evaluate the Session – Do a quick evaluation and assess the success of the training session or game. Be sure to note if there were any concerns or injuries that need addressing.
  • Injury Follow-Up – If there were any injuries, be sure to check in with players and provide the proper follow-up, if needed. For example, make sure players take care of their own injuries such as icing or visiting a doctor to ensure they stay healthy.
  • Education – The most important thing you can provide to your players is education on what to do following a training session or game. This information can be as basic as hydrating or fueling properly with healthy foods instead of candy or pizza.

If an Injury Happens

If there is an injury during practice or a game, remain calm and address the situation. Refer to the Emergency Action Plan to take the necessary steps.


  • • Check with any player who is hurt or upset. You may need to stop the activity and ask the group to sit quietly. Check in with the player to find out what is wrong. Most children will need a few minutes to sit out before they jump back in.
  • • If a player is injured, ask an assistant coach to help with basic first aid. Be sure to inform the player’s parent at the end of the session of the injury and action taken.
  • • If no assistant coach is available, have the group participate in an easy activity that they can do with little supervision (i.e. USA Eagles or Rugby Freeze Tag). You can then take a minute to help the injured player.


  • • Remain calm – panicking will not help.
  • • Ask the group to continue their activity away from the player that is injured. If you have an assistant coach, have them take the group.
  • • If needed, make the appropriate call to a parent or 911 depending on the injury. Stay with the injured player and make them as comfortable as possible. Until a health professional or parent arrives, you remain responsible for their care.
  • • Address any immediate danger. Be sure that no other players will get injured from the same activity or cause of the injury.
  • • As a follow-up, be sure to fill out an injury/incident report to keep on file. Check in with the injured player and/or parents over the next couple days.