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What’s more dangerous: rugby or American football?

Our greater understanding and awareness of football’s perils is said to be a major reason why the NFL’s TV ratings have dropped in each of the last two seasons.

But, if Americans are actually turning the channel because they don’t want to witness bodies writhing in anguish on the field or athletes going through concussion protocol, they aren’t alone. In South Africa, both TV viewership and attendance at rugby matches have declined considerably in recent years, raising worries about corporate sponsorship of the sport.

It begs the issue of whether rugby or football is the more deadly sport. Let’s take a deeper look at both sports to see if we can figure it out.

Comparison Of Rugby And Football

The natural first step in determining which sport is more deadly — rugby or football — is to compare the two games.

Because American football is a descendant of rugby, the two sports have many similarities. However, there are substantial distinctions across the sports that have a considerable impact on the chance for injury.

Similarities Between Rugby and Football

The way players block their opponents from going down the field is perhaps the most striking connection between the two games. Both football and rugby require a player to tackle their opponent to the ground, making the two sports among the most physically demanding in the world.

The basic aim of all sports is the same: cross the opponent’s goal line while in possession of the ball. To score a touchdown in football, players just need to breach the plane of the goal line with the ball. Rugby calls for gamers to touch the ball right all the way down to the floor after crossing the intention line, ensuing in a five-factor try. In each sport, you could rating factors through kicking the ball thru a couple of uprights on the opposing quit of the sphere, both after a rating (a convert in soccer is really well worth 1 factor, as compared to two in rugby) or from the sphere of play (a subject intention in soccer is really well worth three factors, as are penalty kicks/drop desires in rugby).

Finally, both games allow backward passes, however backward passes are much more common in rugby.

Differences Between Rugby and Football

There are some small variations between the two games (for example, a rugby field is 109 yards long compared to a football field’s 100 yards), but let’s focus on the most significant distinctions that affect player safety.

Football, unlike rugby, enables the ball to be transferred forward (as long as the player passing the ball is behind the line of scrimmage). This prevalent approach of attempting to move the ball frequently exposes intended receivers to damage when they look back or up in the air to grab the ball. Although the opposing player is not permitted to contact the intended receiver before the ball comes, the receiver is frequently unprepared for the hit and is unaware that their opponent is present.

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Football and rugby also have different rules about how many contacts with opponents are authorized. Football players can block opponents who do not have the ball, such as linemen who collide on every play from scrimmage. Rugby, on the other hand, forbids non-ball handlers from being blocked. When it comes to tackling, rugby players must aim to wrap their arms around their opponent, as opposed to the shoulder-first smashes authorized in football.

Rugby’s less aggressive nature is mirrored in the equipment used. Rugby players are allowed to wear helmets, but they are constructed of soft plastic and aren’t designed to protect the head from impact (they’re supposed to protect ears in a scrum). Football helmets are composed of strong plastic and have foam padding inside to protect the player’s head. They also include a mask across the front to protect the players’ faces. Football players also wear significantly thicker shoulder pads than rugby players, and they also wear protective gear on their upper legs.

Rugby, on the other hand, is a more physically demanding sport to play since the game flow is considerably more fluid. The only time the action stops in rugby is for scrums, throw-ins, or after-scoring plays, and players play both offense and defense.

Which Sport Has More Brutal With Injuries —  Rugby or Football?

What's More Dangerous: Rugby Or American Football

Injuries are common in both rugby and football due to the physical demands of both games. Although the most prevalent types of injuries in each activity differ, both share a worry when it comes to the most catastrophic injuries of all: concussions.

According to the Australian physiotherapy clinic Physio Works, one in every four players will be injured during a young rugby season, and injuries occur at a rate nearly three times greater than in soccer. Muscular strains and contusions are the most prevalent injuries in juvenile rugby, accounting for around 40% of all rugby injuries. In comparison, head injuries account for around 20% of all injuries.

Concussions in rugby are far more common at the professional level. According to a 2014 study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, concussions were the most often reported injury in professional rugby unions in England.

Meanwhile, football is responsible for more injuries than any other North American sport. According to the American Orthopaedic Society‘s STOP (Sports Trauma and Overuse Prevention) Sports Injuries project, approximately 1 million players under the age of 18 were treated by doctors and clinics for football-related injuries in 2007.

Although knee and ankle injuries are the most prevalent in football, STOP Sports Injuries recognized that brain injuries (particularly concussions) were also a serious problem. That was ten years ago, and the numbers have only escalated as both awareness and diagnosis of brain injuries in football have grown. The number of confirmed concussions in the National Football League increased to 274 in 2015, while the Canadian Football League, which has nine teams, recorded 50 concussions in 2010.

Concussions are thought to be cumulative (blows to the head over a lifetime might leave the brain more sensitive to the next one), which may explain why concussions are more noticeable at the professional/adult level in both football and rugby.

Which Is More Dangerous — Rugby or Football?

What's More Dangerous: Rugby Or American Football

I’m not sure there’s a clear answer to this issue. Personally, I believe the best approach to consider this is to ask yourself which sport you would want your child to engage in.

As a long-time football enthusiast who enjoyed playing the sport in high school, it hurts me to say that I would rather see my kid on a rugby pitch than on the football gridiron.

Rugby may entail more physical tackles throughout the course of a game owing to the continual flow of the game, but I feel the players also have a lot more respect for their opponents. Rugby players don’t feel invincible since they don’t have hard plastic shielding their heads as football players do, and they won’t use their heads as a weapon.

In rugby, precise tackling form is much more important since you can’t just drop your shoulder into an opponent or take them out at their knees. And, unlike intended receivers in football, who are vulnerable to massive hits when looking back for a pass, rugby players appear to be aware of possible tacklers at all times.

To be honest, I’d rather my children did not participate in any of these two sports. There are many safer sports to play, and the long-term repercussions of concussions can be disastrous.

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