What are the most common injuries seen in Rubgby?
October 5, 2021
Despite its collisional nature and high injury incidence rate (IIR), rugby is a popular global sport. Males and females play the sport at professional, semi-professional, and amateur levels. However, there are gender-related differences in patterns of injury and risk. Injury rates in Rugby are estimated to be almost three times higher than footballing injuries.
Reasons for the DIFFERENCE in IIR to multiple factors:
  1. The anatomical and physiological differences between males and females.
  2. Females accelerate slower and experience lower collision forces.
  3. The fixture load is lower for females than males
Let's see the NUMBERS:
Approximately 1 in 4 rugby players will be injured during the season. With each player performing on average 20- 40 tackles per match. Neck injuries being all too common, it is estimated that up to 25% of these are caused when players of differing levels of experience tackle.
Over 40% of injuries are muscular strains or bruising, 30% are sprains, followed by dislocations, fractures (most commonly to the clavicle), lacerations, and overuse injuries.
Sprained ankles are a common injury with ankle sprains representing almost 1 in 7 rugby injuries. Superficial injuries represent 20% of rugby injuries, followed by head injuries and sprains (16%). Of the head injuries approximately just less than half are concussions.
10-18-year-olds experience most injuries.
Adults aged 25–34 years are at higher risk
More than half of injuries occur during matches as opposed to in training, and more often in the second half of the game when fatigue starts to kick in.
Hookers and flankers sustain the most injuries.
Forwards are more frequently injured than backs because of their greater involvement in physical collisions and tackles.
In the scrum, the locks are at greatest risk of facial cuts and cauliflower ear (external deformity to the ear caused by repeated blows. P
layers in rucks and mauls commonly suffer injuries to fingers and thumbs as well as abrasions and lacerations from cleats.
Like in many other sports most injuries occur at the beginning of a season, suggesting that pre-season conditioning could reduce injuries. A conditioning program should gradually increase in intensity and duration to prepare athletes for competition.
As with most sports, regaining strength and flexibility after an injury is important to successful rehabilitation. Neck, shoulder, hip, and core strength, as well as the flexibility of the hamstrings and hip flexors, are important for overall conditioning and can minimize the chances of an athlete sustaining a secondary injury. Because rugby is a continuously moving sport, working to regain a high level of endurance also plays a large role in the effectiveness of a player returning from a rugby injury.
  • Practice a balanced and structured training regimen involving strength, flexibility, and endurance
  • Always use proper technique when tackling, rucking and scrumming
  • Learn proper positioning during gameplay to minimize risky moves
  • Use a quality, properly fitted mouthguard
  • Participate at a level consistent with the ability
  • Adhering to the rules for the formation of the scrum
  • Ask your athletic trainer or other sports medicine professional about any training or injury questions
  • Proper warm-up
Future prevention strategies may best be aimed towards the tackle area. Further research is warranted at all participation levels of rugby league in both the match and training environments to confirm the strongest risk factors for injury.
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