Originally Posted by GRUNTERSDAD
What's this??? four players on one team wearing helmets?? Oh my. I thought they were tough guys??
It's mainly to protect the ears. You know, from being torn off. It's a common injury in rugby. They also protect from lacerations, but that's about it.
"Head injuries range from superficial facial and scalp lacerations, and broken noses to severe concussions. Some researchers have reported that they account for over 20% of all Rugby Union injuries."
"A statistical survey found that 20% of all rugby injuries result in concussions."
(For comparison, the most common injury in American football is knee injury, with about 20% of all injuries being to the knee.)
Also, in rugby, when whoever's with the ball goes down, the play doesn't stop. To the contrary, the opposing players have the right to kick the snot out of him as long as he still holds the ball. The scrums are by no means innocent either - facial and ear injuries (cauliflower ears) as well as shoulder injuries are pretty often in scrums.
It's simply different kinds of brutal.