Unique rugby play signifies the start of a lasting relationship between New Orleans’ professional rugby team and the regional healthcare leader.

 NOLA GOLD Rugby, New Orleans’ professional rugby team, converged on Children’s Hospital New Orleans’ campus this morning to kick off its awareness and fundraising campaign for the iconic pediatric medical center. 

In a sport that requires the ideal combination of strength, agility, skill, and strategy, members of the rugby team crouched down, locked arms, and used their collective strength to push an LCMC Health ambulance, including the hospital patients, the ambulance driver, and the team mascot, down Henry Clay Avenue in front hospital’s main entrance.

“It’s only fitting that we institute a scrum to launch our awareness and fundraising campaign for Children’s Hospital,” said Tim Falcon, majority owner of NOLA GOLD Rugby. “Besides kicking off our campaign, the scrum signifies our close partnership with LCMC Health, the official sports medicine provider of NOLA GOLD Rugby,” Falcon continued.

While otherwise an ordinary play in rugby, the scrum is one of the most recognized in all sports because of its unusual formation. By definition, the rugby scrum restarts a play after stoppage due to a minor infringement of the rules or when the ball becomes unplayable. It involves players from each team packing closely with their heads down, pushing one another with all their might to gain possession of the ball.  

Children’s Hospital CEO Lou Fragoso, who played rugby in college, joined the scrum to acknowledge the team’s commitment to the partnership and their campaign.     

“When I first heard the idea, I wanted in on the scrum,” said Lou Fragoso, President and CEO of Children’s Hospital New Orleans. “I’m grateful to the team for taking a break from their busy routine to come to our hospital to demonstrate their commitment to the New Orleans community and put smiles on lots of faces!” Fragoso continued. 

Officials of NOLA Gold Rugby have dedicated this Saturday’s game to Children’s Hospital. Throughout the week, under the Scrum For A Cause moniker, the Gold will continue to raise awareness for the hospital’s patients and staff. In addition to fundraising efforts on matchday, team officials have committed a portion of ticket sales to the efforts. 

The 3-1 Gold will take on the 1-3-1 Chicago Hounds this Saturday at the Shrine On Airline in Metairie. Kickoff is at 3:00 pm, and pre-game festivities will begin at 1:45 pm. 

After a robust RFP process in October last year, NOLA Gold selected LCMC Health as its official sports medicine provider. The core focus of the relationship is injury prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation. It’s a joint mission between the team and the healthcare provider, served through a trusting relationship that began five years ago when NOLA Gold and Tulane Institute of Sports Medicine (TISM) joined forces. LCMC Health’s recent acquisition of Tulane Medical Center included TISM and other Tulane University Medical Group assets. 

Rugby combines the high-impact physicality of football with the constant endurance test of soccer. Professional rugby players must maintain the highest strength and conditioning levels to ensure a competitive advantage and prevent injuries. The sports medicine provider is critical to these players and teams.

“A star player sidelined for one game can be the difference in making the playoffs,” said NOLA Gold General Manager Ryan Fitzgerald. We are in lockstep with their sports medicine staff and orthopedic doctors.” Fitzgerald concluded. 

“When it comes to preventing and caring for injuries, NOLA Gold has a great deal at stake,” said Billy Douglass, LCMC Health’s Senior Vice President of Physician Services and Development. “We’re honored that their leadership and team have placed their trust and confidence in us, and we look forward to an exciting future with NOLA Gold Rugby, Douglass concluded. 

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