Alex Murphy is 9yrs. old and he is the smallest player on the rugby pitch in West Newbury. His dad calls him “Bear” because he’s quite tenacious. Though Alex doesn’t get much playing time yet on his under-12 team, he’s fearless at practice.
Colin Murphy an executive recruiter said that is because he hasn’t got properly hurt yet.
In the age of anxiety over young athletes concussions and the rising rate of ligament-reconstruction surgery for young baseball and soccer players, bruises and ankle sprains are part of the program in rugby. It’s surprising, then, to learn that it’s the fastest-growing youth game in the nation, according to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association. While participation in football and baseball has been declining steadily for years, rugby enrollment grew 81 percent from 2008 to 2013, beating out lacrosse and hockey.