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How safe is Junior Rugby League?
Unfortunately Rugby League at the elite level is sometimes disgraced by the behaviour of a single player or a single fan who doesn’t play by the rules. As usual it's the one bad element that tarnishes the games reputation.
Junior Rugby League has been trying hard to reverse this mentality and a concerted effort to clean up the games image is paying off. In the last two yeas the QRL South East Division Juniors has grown an amazing 21%. Part of the reason for this, is due to the introduction of "Safe Codes of Play" and "Codes of Conduct" for players, parents, coaches, managers, officials and spectators.
The rules have been modified in number of ways relating to how tackles can be made, de-powering the scrum and abuse or foul language. This has allowed for reckless and dangerous play to be removed from the game. All players are taught how to affect a tackle within these rules, ensuring the safety of all involved. In fact a survey undertaken by Medibank Private found that Rugby League was the equal safest of all the football codes, with only 5.2 doctor referrals for injuries in every 1000 players.
Further, a study conducted by the Children's Hospital Institute of Sport Medicine in Penrith* found the following;
1. Children aged 6 - 11 had an injury rate of 4.1 injuries per 1000 players. These figures confirm there is a very small risk of injury to junior league players in the 6 - 11 year age bracket.
2. In almost 3 of the 4 cases considered, the injury was of a minor nature and the player did not miss a game.
3. Injury rates comparison for rugby league juniors indicated that occurences of injury are similar, if not lower, when compared to the published data of other sports including cricket and basketball.
Codes of Conduct have been implemented by the ARL and the QRL outlining what is expected of players, parents, coaches, managers, officials and spectators, and also what the consequences are for non-compliance. Games may be stopped if spectators get out of control and the QRL have the power to ban a person or persons from QRL grounds if they repeatedly ignore the Code of Conduct.
Norths Junior Rugby League Footbal Club wholeheartedly supports both the Safe Play Code and The ARL and the QRL Codes of Conduct and we ask that you do the same. There's no doubt the game can be tough, but it doesn't need to be rough.
*Reference; Incidence of injury in junior rugby league in Penrith & District Junior Rugby League Area, (Raferty, Parker, Stacy, Peat, Wang) August 1999.