Quidditch on campus: the good, the bad and the ugly

Quidditch remains a popular sport on university campuses. The sixth annual British Quidditch cup competition was recently held in Newcastle with over 30 teams taking part.

The trophy was won by the least interestingly named team, the London Quidditch Club, who beat the Werewolves of London in the final

Almost 600 athletes across 31 teams from all over the United Kingdom came together, to crown a new national champion.
London Quidditch Club, in their inaugural season, took home the British Quidditch Cup after defeating two-time national champions, Velociraptors Quidditch Club, in a tight semi-final – before defeating the Werewolves of London in a grand finale that had both sides throwing everything they had at each other.
Velociraptors Quidditch Club went on to take the bronze medal against Southampton Quidditch Club, who have continued to prove they are still one of the best teams in the country; university or otherwise.
Warwick Quidditch Club defeated the Leicester Thestrals in a tight Lower-Bracket final, while Winchester Quidditch Club made a surprise run into the Top-16 after winning Development Cup and a spot at the British Quidditch Cup.

Round rocks and broomsticks

The full results and data are available here. Meanwhile, over the other side of the Atlantic, the University of Rochester’s Quidditch team, the UR Thestrals,  recently won the US Quidditch cup:

Magic was in the air in Round Rock, Texas, on April 15 as the University of Rochester’s Quidditch team hoisted the US Quidditch Cup. The UR Thestrals, named for magical flying beasts that inhabit the literary world of Harry Potter, beat the University of Texas at Austin 100–90 to join Middlebury College as the only Northeast Region schools to win the national championship. Quidditch is growing increasingly popular on college campuses, with 87 teams competing in the annual event.

 

The UR Thestrals also have this handy explainer about the popularity of the sport at the university.

Ten points to Slytherin

But there is a dark side to Quidditch too. As noted in a previous edition of True Crime on Campus the sport is not without its issues:

1225 Report of a person with a suspected broken ankle on the Downs. Security attended. While dealing with the injured person another person fell injuring their ankle. Both Students were taken to Hospital by Ambulance. Both Students were injured while playing Quidditch.

2230 Report of noise coming from the Quidditch Match being played at the rear of Lincoln Hall. Security attended and spoke to the players.

1636 Security were asked to take a Student back to his Hall of Residence from Cripps Health Centre following an injury while playing Quidditch. Officers collected the Student and took him back to his Hall.

More serious still is this report from the US on the risks associated with what is a fast-paced and high contact sport. Vanessa Barker is a beater on the University of Maryland Quidditch team and commented:

“I’ve gotten egregiously tackled many times, where they tackle me too hard for no reason,” she said.
Barker said her second concussion happened when she was tackled by a 200-pound male during tryouts. She got another when a male beater hit her in the head with the bludger, but without letting the ball go, essentially punching her in the head.
On the field, Barker has seen a range of other injuries. During her freshman year, she said the president of her team broke his collarbone twice.
“I’ve seen broken thumbs, broken noses, broken collarbones,” Barker said.

Amelia Gurley, a former quidditch player and medical student at Brown University is undertaking an international Quidditch injury survey. She is looking to build on an earlier survey by University of Edinburgh of roughly half of all Quidditch players in the UK. This study revealed a mixed picture:

While overall injury rates were no higher than in other recreational sports, concussions accounted for more than 20 percent of all injuries. That made concussions the second most common injury overall, according to Ashley Cooper, one of the study’s authors. Sprains were the most common injury, at roughly 26 percent. Lacerations, at about 18 percent, were the third most common injury type.
The authors called the study’s concussion numbers “relatively high when compared to other full contact sports.” For comparison, the study noted that the concussion rate in professional rugby was between 3 percent and 10 percent of all injuries.

There’s a lot still to learn then about the real risks of injury in playing Quidditch but, given the growing numbers involved in universities in the US and the UK, it is unlikely to be too long before rule changes and enhanced safety regimes are introduced to reduce the chances of serious injuries.

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