For the love of the game

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Over the years debates have occurred on whether rugby or football claimed the fame of the most aggressive, physical sport. Some say football because of the harder hits; others say rugby because of no pads; and others meet in the middle, saying it’s all biased.

Biased or not, the BYU women’s rugby team stands its ground, and though the team has humiliated all of its opponents, the players are not immune from harm.

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This weekend the women return to action for a doubleheader, which could give BYU a shot at a competitive match. Despite the injuries some players  endure, they continue to return to the field. Such is the case for newcomer Sydney Christensen, who joined the team just three week ago.

“I got a black eye on Saturday,” Christensen said. “I got kicked in the face, but I feel that after the first practice I was hooked. I just love the intensity of it.”

In addition to black eyes, other injuries the players potentially face every day in practice and matches include hamstring strains, meniscus injuries, dislocated shoulders and nosebleeds. Playing a sport with so many potential injuries, injury prevention is crucial and is done by warming up, cooling down and wearing protective clothing. Unlike football or lacrosse players, who cover a majority of their bodies with large pads, the rules of rugby only allow for a light helmet, mouth guard and small pads to protect bony regions on the body.

Another injury prevention BYU relies on constantly is the team.

“We are not just trusting the game in each other’s hand,” said Missy Web, a pre-nursing major from Walla Walla, Wash., “but also our personal safety, because rugby is a dangerous sport if you don’t know what you’re doing.”

If it’s such a dangerous sport, why keep playing?

“Because I’m obsessed. I can’t get enough of it,” assistant coach Kara Remington said.

Remington said in most sports, you have to hold back not letting all your energy out during the game, but in rugby you are able to unload.

“There is nothing better than leaving the game and you know you left all your energy out there,” she said.

The doubleheader takes place on Friday and Saturday morning in Boulder, Colo., against the University of Colorado and then Colorado Springs, Colo., against Air Force.

For the last few weeks, the Cougars have talked about wanting to work on their defense, having a close game and a chance to prepare themselves for the Sweet 16. They have also said how this weekend, especially against Air Force, they should get that chance.

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