In our first practice, we did some conditioning runs, worked on passing and tackling, then did it all again. Basically with all the new players, it's important to start at the beginning and work our way into a rugby game. What was great to see was the experienced players all stepping up to help the newbies. We worked from 9:15 till 10:50pm a real good hour and a half of constant movement.
Due to the holiday weekend, I had been informed that a number of players wouldn't be in attendance for our Friday practice, we still had 30 players in attendance and we continued to work on the basics of rugby. On this normally hot day we had a number of scheduled water breaks to keep the lads hydrated, but we did have our first medical emergency. A new player went down due to dehydration and possible heat exhaustion, first, let me tell you all that he is fine, I will explain and I hope you all inform the lads the importance of eating right and maintaining a lot of fluids before, during and after practice as I have on the teams facebook and will repeat the importance of this to them at practice.
The player in question had just gone through his first rounds of conditioning, passing drills, tackling drills and had just completed his 2nd round of conditioning, when a team-mate noticed he wasn't sweating and had him lie down in the shade of the field (at the far end of the practice field). It was then both myself and Bear went to investigate, I informed Bear to get the other lads over for our scheduled water break and I called for our Rec Sports field monitor to bring the golf cart to move the player to a better site. It was then that we determined EMT's were needed and transported to the local hospital. I followed him to the hospital and was in constant communcation with our Rec Sports Director, Chris McAlpine and his mother all during this.
The doctors ran tests and finally determined that he was only dehydrated and needed to keep drinking fluids. Upon his release from the hospital, I took him out for a bite to eat, since it was well past dinner and we both needed food, I talked with him about the importance of eating properly and drinking (hydrating) before, during and after practice or games. I then drove him to his dorm to end the night, again let me say that he is fine and I don't think this will scare him away from rugby. What I am proud to say is that the club's facebook pages were blowing up with everyone wanting to know how he was doing and I informed them after and the unity the all showed for their fallen team-mate was fantastic and I know they'll work with him and the other freshman and newbies to make sure this doesn't happen again.
A simple note to all the parents - if any of your sons goes down due to injury or illness on the rugby field, I will personally make sure you are all notified and will remain with your son until everything is taken care of. I consider all the lads my sons, and will make sure their safety is my main concern.
I also have forms that all players complete, with their full name, anything they might be allergic to, their parents name, phone numbers and email addresses, In case something does happen during practice or a match. Due to the fact that this occured on the second practice, caught me off guard, but that won't be the case this coming week.
With Monday being a holiday, there will not be a players only touch rugby session, but we will resume our practice Wednesday and Friday. We have two weeks and 5 practices in which to get them ready to play and we're taking small steps in making sure they all learn the game in increments before they go out and play against any other club.