Hi, my name is Roberto Santiago. I am a sign
language interpreter and a rugby referee, and I am going to be guiding you through this
video training on Deaf Rugby Game Management Guidelines. Over the past three years I have
been lucky enough to be a part of a group of people who are trying to grow the sport
of rugby within the Deaf community. We’re starting to see more and more Deaf rugby players.
Specifically in the Washington D.C. area, and down at Cal State Northridge in Los Angeles,
as well as in sort of small pockets around the country. With this, USA Rugby has established a Deaf
rugby advisory panel. And that panel is made up of Deaf coaches, Deaf players, referees,
people from USA Rugby and a few others. And together, one of the things that we’ve done
is come up with a draft set of game management guidelines for Deaf players. These are based
on trial and error, as well as brain-storming and experimentation and testing with members
of that panel. They are in draft form right now, the hope is that USA Rugby will publish
these and put them forward in the near future. Right now, this training is being put together
for the Potomac Society, we have a Deaf high school team, and a Deaf senior men’s team
here in the area. So Potomac has asked that we put together this training. It’s a little
quick and dirty. I’m not a professional video person. I put this together with the help
of some of the Deaf players in the area, so bear with me. Hopefully this will work as
sort of a rough draft for a more polished video that will get put together some time
in the future. The main thing to remember when refereeing
Deaf players is that it’s still just rugby. The game really isn’t that different. There’s
a few things that you’re going to add in terms of gestures that you’re going to use with
your normal commands. And a little bit of differences with your scrum…cadence…the
verbal cadence, everything still stays the same, but you’re going to add some gestures.
Don’t get overwhelmed. Remember, you’re going to referee the game almost exactly the way
you normally do, you’re just going to add a couple of things. I also want to note that
these variations pretty much apply to U19, and 7s as well as senior level rugby. There’s
just a couple of small differences in U19s that we’ll go over later in the video. For
now, let’s start looking at the Deaf Management Guidelines. The goal of the neon gloves is to make sure
that your hands are very easy to see for a Deaf players who need to able to pick out
your hands and your gestures and distinguish them from the other 60 hands flying around
the field. So that last section specifically talks about
stoppages of play, but Ido want to sort of expand upon the idea of being as demonstrative
as possible. In these next few clips I’ll show you some communicative gestures you can
use around the breakdowns, at the maul, or to communicate with the back lines at the
scrum. Or really at any set piece. in the example here, we have defenders who
are offside at a ruck. What you see the referee doing is taking a step forward and gesturing
them back with his hands. We’ll see it from a couple different angles. This might seem
a little more aggressive than we’re used to being with players, but this really is the
gestural or sign equivalent of saying “take a step” or “get to the last foot.” What we’ll see here is getting the attention
and moving of and moving back of a player who is on the far side of the breakdown. So
that wave is a standard way to get attention in ASL, and then the gesture to move back.
This a lot like pointing at a winger or pointing at somebody who is farther away to get them
onside. What you’re going to see here is if you need
to hold the hooker from throwing in at the line out. It’s just a hand up, and you drop
it when you’re ready for them to throw. And you’ll se the hand up to hold the back line.
Again, the hand’s up. You’re ready. And you hold the back line. I don’t have video for this last one, but
just to expand a little bit on coming onto the field. We’re talking about coming in about
five meters and jet giving sort of a “stop” or if you have your flag a “stop.” That gesture,
within the line of sight. You can also do the that same wave that we showed earlier
to get players’ attention. Especially if they have their heads down in a ruck or maul. Just
give them a little wave. Obviously not hitting them or grabbing them or anything like that.
But just trying to get within where they can see that there’s something going on that they
need to pay attention to. Crouch Crouch Now we’ll see the rest of the scrum engagement.
The thing to note here is that the referee is calling “Set” as his arm is coming out
for the last time. That arm coming out is what is going to signal the Deaf props, and
then your verbal “Set” will signal the hearing front rows. Bind, Set So we’ll see some examples here. I would actually
suggest getting your hand farther into the tunnel than what you’re seeing here. I would
say really, almost get your shoulder up to where that loose head prop is. Crouch. (Richard instructs front rows) Bind.
Set. Sink. Bind. Set. So again, here I don’t have a video clip to
show for this. The wave above the head, is, as it describes, if you’ve ever watched the
NFL it’ll look like stopping time or marking the ball dead at a spot, which is this movement.
So what you’ll do is you’ll blow the whistle, and you’ll give one of these to each sideline,
then your primary. Again, I do want to expand a little bit on
the idea of being demonstrative with your gestures and with your communication. So we’re
going to see a clip coming up of how to push the Deaf team back in the event that they
are the offending team at a penalty. Again, it might seem like on of these things that’s
a little more aggressive than we normally do with players, but it is the gesture equivalent
of saying “Back ten.” So this video here doesn’t shoe the hand wave.
But it shows the “Back ten”gesture that you want to use with Deaf teams. So this last one is one where you might be
thinking, “Right we’re already supposed to be doing that.” And you’re absolutely correct.
We’re already taught to give an immediate signal and to make our signals clear. However,
we have found that not all referees do this. The main issues that we have, that we’ve seen
in Deaf rugby games, are referees who talk and explain things before they signal. When
that happens, you obviously disadvantage the Deaf team because they can’t hear the explanation.
So what happens is you’ll see a referee who will talk, and then signal a penalty against
the Deaf team, for the hearing team, who will then tap and run off. Then you’ll see the
Deaf team get penalized or you’ll see advantage played for not being ten. What we’re trying
to avoid here is the fact that if you’re chatting first, if you’re doing anything other than
signaling, stoppage and then which way the penalty is going, you’re putting the Deaf
team in a position where they don’t know why play has stopped. They don’t know that there’s
a penalty, whether it’s a penalty or a scrum, or something else, and then immediately they
have no chance to get back. Where, somewhere in that explanation is probably a clue as
to who’s down what. So it’s really important that we think to ourselves whether or not
we are disadvantaging the Deaf team in the way that we are handling stoppages. So you
really really want to make sure that you are blowing the whistle, with an immediate signal. We always want to think about fair contest.
So, this isn’t to blame referees, but one thing we want to think about is whether we’re
creating a fair contest with the way that we’re blowing up play, the way that we’re
stopping play, especially in a penalty situation. So if you find that you have the Deaf team
who’s not back ten several times, it may very well be that that are being non-compliant.
But there should be some introspection as well as to whether or not we as the referee
are doing something that is not communicating out intent. So that’s it for now. The next few slides
will have some contact information. Hopefully the tags that I’m putting on this video will
also bring up sort of, in that YouTube sidebar, some other resources that we’ve created for
refereeing Deaf teams, as well as learning some of the signs for rugby that the Deaf
players use, if you’re interested in sort of going that extra mile. I’ll also have my
contact information if you want to get in touch with me and ask about this training
or ask about refereeing deaf players. Thank you very much for your time. We really
appreciate it. We’re really looking forward to the growth of Deaf rugby. We’re very excited
about where this game is going in the Deaf community, and we thank all of you for being
a part of that. Take care.