SafeSport Updated Policies: Massages and Rubdowns

SafeSport has released four updated policies relating to how minors and adults are set to interact. The four updated polices cover a host of topics including travel (team and local), one-on-one interactions and massages and rubdowns. Over the coming week’s USA Rugby will release information surrounding each policy update. Here is the first of four.

Massages and Rubdowns:

An integral part of an athlete’s recovery process is receiving a massage or a “rubdown”. However, these can often leave athletes in an uncomfortable, unsafe and vulnerable position. To combat circumstances arising which could cause harm to the athlete Safe Sport has implemented these policy adjustments to how, when and who an athlete may receive a massage/rubdown from.


The policy applies to adults at a facility, event or team activity under USA Rugby, or USA Rugby member organization’s jurisdiction.  It applies to adult members with regular contact with amateur minor athletes, adults authorized by covered organizations and staff or board members of USA Rugby or one of their member organizations.

An adult may only perform a massage or rubdown on a minor at any USA Rugby: facility, event, training, or competition, if they are a licensed massage therapist. If they are not a licensed therapist the practice is strictly prohibited.  

These massages, on top of being conducted by licensed professionals, must also be performed in open and interruptible locations, with at least one other adult present. These rubdowns or massages must never be performed where the minor and licensed massage therapist are the only two in the room.

Coaches, regardless of if they are licensed as a massage therapist or not, may never under any circumstance perform a massage or rubdown of one of their players.

Before a minor athlete receives a massage or rubdown, written consent from the legal guardian must be obtained before a massage or rubdown is provided.

For More information on SafeSport and their policies click here.