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Contact Me:
Tripti Gyan MCSP HCPC Reg
Chartered and State Registered Physiotherapist
Nottingham YMCA Health and Fitness
4 Shakespeare Street
Nottingham
NG1 4FG (map)

Tel: 07866 464 385 (Within the UK)
Tel: +44 (0) 7866 464 385(Outside the UK)

Email: tripti@triptigyan.com

Tackling Rugby injuries part one

Rugby is a very physical game. This physicality has increased year after year since the game became a professional sport with athletes getting bigger, stronger, faster and fitter. The hits that happen in the game today are testament to how well conditioned and prepared the players at the top level are, otherwise they simply would not be able to recover after each knock.

Now that the dust has settled on the 6 Nations Championship and Irish heads have cleared after the long celebrations, what have we learnt?

action from a rugby match

Well, in playing terms, things haven't changed much. Three teams - Wales, Ireland and England - stand head to head above the rest of the Northern Hemisphere and possess the qualities to give the likes of New Zealand and South Africa a test at the World Cup in Autumn 2015.

But watching as a Physiotherapist and someone who is always interested in preserving quality of life, the intensity of the game and the ever-increasing physicality of the sport at the highest level can be daunting.

Of course, this is what makes the sport so thrilling and separates those superstars of the professional game from the average person. But as the statistics have shown, even the 19-stone goliaths of the sport are paying the price for these ferocious collisions.

The Proof

Going into the first match against Wales, England's squad was riddled with injuries and Head Coach Stuart Lancaster was forced to field third and fourth choice players into key positions. During the course of the tournament there were further concerns with a number of players from all six teams picking up knocks. This illustrates the toll rugby is taking on players today, with an estimated 1 in 4 thought to suffer injury during the course of a season.

The headline of the tournament from a medical professional's perspective would undoubtedly be "Concussion." First to suffer in the tournament was Mike Brown whose knee to the head meant he rested for the next game. But the real talking point was George North who received two concussions in the game against England and still continued to play on - only to suffer a third just weeks later when playing for Northampton.

It will be strange to hear then, that concussion makes up just 4.4% of all rugby injuries according to IRB research. Concussion has always been in the game, it just appeared to be less prevalent when the guys were a bit lighter. The force exerted on players as a result of the simple physics of moving a heavier person faster into a collision zone, will obviously cause an increase in the frequency of more serious injuries. Concussion occurs when the brain is shaken inside the skull. Scrum caps have been shown to purely limit the chance of head laceration but will not prevent concussion from a head blow.

In rugby, concussion can be limited by being well conditioned for your skill level; working on tackling technique and body position at the collision zone. If you have your head in the 'right place' during these collisions you will reduce the risk of developing concussion. However if you play any contact sport, you are more likely to take knocks which could produce concussion despite having a good technique.

So what are the most frequent rugby injuries and how do they occur?

Common rugby injuries

Back, shoulder, knee and ankle problems are most common amongst rugby players due to the impact of tackling, scrummaging, rucking and mauling. Muscle tears also occur in the hamstrings and quadriceps due to the high intensity of the sport.

Statistics

  • 57% of rugby injuries occur during matches rather than in training
  • 60% of all injuries are sprains, strains and contusions
  • 10% of injuries are fractures
  • Injuries are more common in the second half of matches when fatigue sets in
  • Hookers and flankers are the most likely players to sustain injuries

Treating rugby players

The average size of rugby players in professional games continues to increase and this can only lead to greater collisions, which heightens the risk of injury. The rigours of a professional rugby season are such that all teams in the top division employ a team of Physiotherapists to not only rehabilitate injured players but also to participate as part of post-match recovery and pre-match injury prevention programmes.

Even outside of the professional game, many keen rugby players benefit from physiotherapy to keep them fit and in top form throughout the course of a season. Through tailored recovery work, players often find themselves less stiff and sore in the days following a big match - which enables them to get back in the gym or into training sooner to improve fitness.

Rugby player? Looking to rehabilitate, recover, prevent injury or even improve performance? Contact us today and we would d be happy to tell you more about the services we can provide. Call us now at our Nottingham Physiotherapy Practice on 07866 464 385 or email us at tripti@triptigyan.com