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 Seattle Seawolves

Beyond the Sidelines: My Journey into Seattle's Rugby Culture

April 11, 2024 - Major League Rugby (MLR)
Seattle Seawolves News Release

In the winter of 2022, I found myself embarking on an unexpected journey into the heart of rugby culture. I had recently moved to Seattle and joined the Seattle Seawolves, the two-time champions of Major League Rugby. I, as a total newcomer to the sport and an orthopedic surgeon specializing in sports medicine, found my role taking on a new dimension. I had no idea then that I would not be staying on the sidelines, but become deeply involved in rugby culture and its profound sense of brotherhood.

Seattle, with its rich tapestry of cultures, peoples, and passions, proved to be the perfect setting for rugby. The league is profoundly diverse in terms of players' home countries, personalities, histories, and backgrounds, yet all share so much joy in the game. Immersing myself in the local rugby scene, I found a community united by their love for rugby and a strong sense of camaraderie.

Joining the Seattle Seawolves was a leap of faith - an opportunity to apply my medical expertise in a new and exciting setting. As I stepped onto the pitch at Starfire for the first time, I was struck by the palpable excitement and intensity. The Seawolves did not disappoint that day. Whether they win or lose, they have been a prime example of the sportsmanship, friendly competition, and passion we can all expect from rugby.

My role as the team's orthopedic surgeon thrust me into the middle of the action, treating injuries from lacerations to dislocations, ligament tears, sprains and contusions. I found the game itself so different and hard to follow at first, but it's amazing how quickly it became second nature. Each team has presented a new look at the sport, a new style of play, and new insights. In taking care of both the Seawolves and visiting players, I've discovered a remarkable circle to have the privilege of caring for.

Beyond the excitement of match days, it was the sense of community that truly captured my heart. From the cheering of fans, the anticipatory chatter with friends before each new season, and sharing post-match celebrations with players and coaches, I found myself welcomed into a tight-knit fellowship that embraced newcomers with open arms.

As the last three seasons have progressed, I witnessed firsthand the transformative power of rugby - not just as a sport, but as a force for positive change within the community. From outreach programs aimed at promoting youth participation to initiatives to support local charities, the Seawolves have consistently demonstrated their commitment to making a meaningful impact both on and off the pitch.

Looking back on these seasons with the team, I am filled with a profound sense of gratitude for the opportunity to be a part of something truly special. In a city known for its innovation and resilience, rugby has found a home - a place where passion, perseverance, and a shared sense of purpose unite to create something truly extraordinary.

- Dr. Jonathan Hodax, MD | Head Team Orthopedic Surgeon

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