Southern California Youth Rugby (SCYR, Inc.) is the organizing body responsible for all youth and high school rugby in Southern California. Our region runs from San Luis Obispo in the north to San Diego in the south and includes all points east within the state of California. As a State Rugby Organization (SRO), SCYR reports directly to USA Rugby, the sport's national governing body. Our 80+ clubs and high school programs participate in our High School, Club and Summer 7s leagues serving athletes from Under 8 through Under 18 throughout the year.
In October, 2015, we launched an innovative program that that represents a quantum leap forward in our ability to offer a youth sports experience that is as safe as possible - the Player Welfare Program (PWP). The PWP positively affects over 10,000 athlete, volunteer and parent lives and is comprised of four key elements. First, properly scheduled contact matches are assigned a Certified Athletic Trainer (ATC) to cover the match. ATCs are medical professionals who specialize in the prevention, assessment, treatment and rehabilitation of injuries and illnesses that occur in athletes. Injuries that occur in properly scheduled SCYR matches are now professionally tended to by an ATC at the pitch.
The second element of the PWP is the availability of online baseline concussion testing. Every SCYR registration for athletes U10 and up now includes a free ImpACT test, the most-widely used and most scientifically validated computerized concussion evaluation system available.
The third key element of the PWP is the use of the InjureFree online injury reporting system. When an ATC tends to an SCYR athlete at a match, they will create an injury report in InjureFree that describes the injury, any actions taken by the ATC, and the ATC's recommendations regarding further assessment or treatment of the injury. The fourth key element is SCYR's new PWP Manager, whose primary duties include managing the baseline concussion testing sessions, reviewing all injury reports in InjureFree, providing support for parents/guardians/coaches/administrators on the elements of the PWP including direct follow up with parents/guardians following significant injuries and suspected concussions, and managing the SCYR concussion protocol.
Overall, the launch of the PWP has been a great success. Our athletes are able to take baseline concussion tests and are receiving professional medical attention as needed right at the pitch. Our parents are receiving direct follow-up and guidance after significant injuries, including concussions, and SCYR is building a database of youth rugby injury information that will allow us to analyze injury trends and to update our safety policies accordingly. The injury analysis will also enable us to work with our partners like InjureFree to develop video and other resources to assist our coaches with proper injury-prevention programs. We aim to continually improve and add to the PWP in future years.
SCYR is honored to be a 2016 Finalist for the STRIVE Award and we thank everyone for their support on this journey!