Susan Bradley · CBC News 

He said the federation requested statistics covering the past five years about the number of injuries in different school sports. The specific statistics examined were total number of injuries and concussions or possible concussions.

For concussions or possible concussions, the numbers showed 149 in rugby, 33 in hockey, 32 in football and 26 in soccer.

“The data was quite eye-opening,” said Gallant.

For total number of injuries, the statistics showed 454 in rugby, 187 in hockey, 162 in football and 158 in soccer.

‘A difficult decision’

“It’s a significantly larger number than all the others,” said Gallant. “It’s unfortunate. It’s a difficult decision for the board and sometimes those hard decisions are. This has been in the making.”

The numbers provided don’t show how many athletes played the sports in the past five years.

Claire Avery, a rugby player at Charles P. Allen High School, said she and her teammates were shocked and devastated by the news.

She said the sport is welcoming to everybody.

“We do not make cuts in this sport for a reason — because it takes every body type, every type of person,” said Avery. “You need leaders, you need followers. Now that we are not getting to play, you have girls that are now sitting and not doing any activity.”

On Thursday afternoon, a petition titled “Bring Rugby back to NS schools” began to circulate. It has already generated more than 6,500 signatures.

Rugby Nova Scotia president Geno Carew said the group has asked to meet with the Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation about the decision to cancel school rugby. (CBC)

Brooklyn Peyton, who plays rugby for Lockview High School in Fall River, hoped she would go to university on a rugby scholarship.

She said she’s blown away by the news of the cancellation.

‘I just love the team’

“I started with this team, it’s important to me, they are like family,” she said. My coach means a lot to me, he’s kind of like my second dad … I just love the team.”

She and other rugby players at Lockview plan to wear their jerseys to school Friday and play some informal games on the school field to show their support for the team.

Rugby players at Charles P. Allen High School in Bedford, N.S. (Submitted by Claire Avery)

Her dad, Larry Peyton, said his daughter is passionate about rugby and gets up at 4:15 a.m. to train.

“That’s the commitment and dedication level that I’ve never seen her have with anything else,” he said. “This is a sport where I don’t ever have to look at her and say, ‘You need to practice.'”

He said he hopes the federation will listen to coaches, players and parents and reverse the decision.

‘We don’t want to wrap our kids in bubble wrap’

“You can have a chance for injury if you ride to school on a school bus, buses get into accidents,” said Larry Peyton. “We don’t want to wrap our kids in bubble wrap and put a fragile sticker on them. ”

Tony Lindley, the rugby coach at Eastern Shore High School, has been involved in the sport for the past 32 years as a player, referee and coach.

“I feel very sorry for the kids. The kids are just devastated by what I’ve heard from from our athletic director at the school,” he said.

“We just can’t believe the decision. I’m just speechless actually.”

Rugby Nova Scotia president Geno Carew said the organization has received “pretty much non-stop” texts, calls and emails since the news broke.

“They want to know what they can do to get the decision reversed,” he said.

Once the group has met with the school sports federation to find out more about the cancellation, he said Rugby Nova Scotia will formulate a response.

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