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Sarah K. Fields and R. Dawn Comstock

Rugby, a fast-paced, aggressive contact sport, has a high incidence of injury. This study examines why US women play rugby given the social stigma surrounding women’s participation in sports in general, particularly contact sports, and despite the high risk of injury. In a survey of their injury history and potential injury risk factors, 339 female rugby players from 14 teams of varied quality and levels of play from a wide geographic area in the United States were asked why they played the sport. Their responses indicate that women play rugby because they enjoy the game, they like the aggressive aspects of the sport, they appreciate the social aspects of the game, and they believe the sport provides them with positive benefits, such as increased fitness, confidence, and strength. The results of this study indicate that many women are willing to risk injury for the positive rewards that they associate with rugby.