Lightning Protocol

Player safety is the sole consideration with regard to lightning delays or cancellations.

Immediate Response

lightning imageWhen lightning is detected by a local municipality, park district, or school district lightning detection system; or seen by a participant (defined as match officials, medical staff, coaches, players, parents, or other spectators):

  1. All play will immediately cease.
  2. All participants will be directed to an appropriate shelter. If no safe structure is available, participants will be instructed to shelter in their vehicles.

Resuming or Cancelling Play

  1. Neither warm-ups nor play will resume until either the “All Clear” is sounded by a local municipality, park district or school district lightning detection system or 30 minutes has passed following the last sighting of lightning. Note that the 30 minute countdown restarts at each lightning sighting during the countdown.
  2. Any given match will be delayed a maximum of two (2) separate times (i.e. countdown restarts do not qualify for this point). A third (3rd) delay will automatically cancel the match.
  3. If a match is not actively being played 90 minutes following the scheduled start, it will be cancelled.
  4. Each match will be considered separately. For example, the second (2nd) match of the day may be cancelled and subsequent matches may be played.
  5. If a match is cancelled anytime past the 5 minute mark of the second half, it will be considered a Full Match and the score at that time will stand.
  6. For the Middle School and Elementary School Division, Lightning cancelled matches may or may not be rescheduled.


It is the responsibility of all Rugby Illinois coaches to enforce this protocol and communicate it to the Head Match Official (i.e., referee) who has the authority over matches. The home team coach should consult and coordinate with the Head Match Official to communicate the protocol.

Heat and Humidity Protocol

On days with high heat and humidity, it is imperative that all players, coaches, administrators, referees and trainers follow the below World Rugby recommendations for competition during this kind of weather. Education is the first step to minimizing heat illness during competition.

  • During each half of each match, there should be a mandatory break after 15 minutes.  This break is for player cooling (ice, shade), hydration and to check players for any symptoms of heat stress.

  • At the breaks, referees are to check in with both teams for any potential player safety issues

Finally, please follow the below important recommendations from World Rugby.


Players should:

  1. Report to medical staff previous episodes of heat illness.
  2. Report to coaching and medical staff, any current viral infection especially if associated with a temperature.
  3. Avoid using stimulants e.g. pseudoephedrine or caffeine prior to training.
  4. Always start a training session well hydrated.
  5. Always drink fluids during a training and playing session.
  6. Report early the signs of heat stress – cramps, headaches, nausea, vomiting.

Coaching, management and medical staff should:

  1. Be aware of the early signs of heat stress – cramps, headaches, nausea, vomiting, reduced performance, poor coordination, “abnormal” behaviour.
  2. Encourage the reporting of current viral infections.
  3. Encourage all players to commence a playing and/or training session fully hydrated.
  4. Recognize and accept the potential seriousness of a severe heat illness, that is, heat stroke.