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I am a coach for the under 13’s at our club. Recently during one of our meetings I raised a concern about the possibility of players playing in full contact games, drills and training.


I and my fellow coaches appear to disagree on whether a young player can still take part in full contact drills, training or game  if he does not have his mouth guard with him.


I’m informed that the club’s guidelines are that if his/her  parent is present and gives permission or there is a letter stating that it is ok for that player to play without his/her mouth guard then we as club and coaches are able to play that player.


I know that the RFU have also provided a guideline that mouth guards are recommended at all times but the position I am taking is that we, as club and as individuals, have a duty of care and if we knowingly allow anybody to play without the correct protection and an injury occurs we may be likely to be found guilty of negligence even if we have that prior permission.


I do not believe that a letter or verbal permission abrogates us from our responsibility of caring for our players…especially the young.


Maybe I am reading too much into this but the Health and Safety Act is an enabling act (possibly doesn’t cover sport- not sure about that) where the responsibility of safety is inherent in everybody not just nominated persons and with the litigation climate in this country becoming more like the USA I would hate for one of our parents to get “legal” if one of their little dears gets injured. Dentistry is not cheap.


My approach is if the player does not have their gumshields then they cannot take part in any contact . Period…just in case.


Do we have anybody who could clarify this point.



Kind regards




I have posted your email question to me in our answers section so we might get some more feedback from other coaches.

My view is that you are quite right to ask all your young players to wear a mouthguard for contact sessions. If a young player attends a session and has forgotten their mouthgurad should they be excluded? Would that harm them more than a knock on the mouth?

We can debate this and there is no definitive response - you will know the children and parents involved and so may be able to make a judgement call on whether they could still take part but perhaps in a modified way and then this will help them to remember their mouthgurad next time?

I hope this helps


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