Rugby union football has long been one of the most popular sports in the world. Its popularity and number of participants continue to increase in the United States. Until 1995, rugby union primarily was an amateur sport. Worldwide there are now flourishing professional leagues in many countries, and after a long absence, rugby union will be returning to the Olympic games in 2016. In the United States, rugby participation continues to increase, particularly at the collegiate and high school levels. With the increase in rugby professional athletes and the reported increase in aggressive play, there have been changes to the injury patterns in the sport. There is still significant need for further epidemiologic data as there is evidence that injury prevention programs and rule changes have been successful in decreasing the number of catastrophic injuries in rugby union.