Avoidable Rugby Injuries
Rugby is commonly described as a blend of both American Football and Soccer with 15 players at the starting Union with just 40-minute halves and just 10-minute halftime. Differentiating this from American Football, Rugby is a sport with less gear, specifically modest padding on head, shoulders, collarbone and a mouth guard. It’s also known to be a highly physical sport with moderate to high contact between players, making athletes prone to injuries and worse, broken bones. Before getting into the most avoidable rugby injuries, hitting a few statistics of the game play of Rugby can aid in that matter.
- During the entire season, 1 out of 4 players gets injured. That’s already a 25% rate.
- Per match, you’re looking at 20-40 tackles on average.
- Compared to soccer, the rate of injury is three times higher, occurring at 57% in matches compared to training.
- 40% of injuries are bruises, 30% are sprains.
- Head injuries in rugby range from 5-25% and out of this rate, 44% are known to have concussions.
Generally speaking, looking into the most avoidable rugby injuries will entail a lot of areas to cover since trauma in various sections & appendages of the body results in fractures, dislocations, lacerations, and concussions.
Injury #1: Cauliflower Ear
Usually caused by blunt trauma to the ear, Cauliflower Ear is a deformity in the external part of the ear where, in minor cases, only affect the appearance. However, in major cases, blood clots may occur, leading to tissue death.
How to Avoid: The use of scrum caps or protective caps to prevent any bending or deforming of the ears will help. Also, consulting a doctor to aid in the treatment through clearing out any accumulated blood will help in surfacing any larger clots.
Injury #2: Hamstring Injury
One of the most avoidable rugby injuries is a Hamstring injury since this happens when various muscle fibers in the hamstring section tear due to ineffective warm-ups, over stretching or weak muscles.
How to Avoid: Recovery techniques such as ice baths and foam rolling can soothe sores. Methods such as conditioning in overall strength, including running performances, can help prevent these injuries. Isolating the hamstring area during exercise can also effectively strengthen the muscles.
Injury #3: MCL Injury
Common mostly in basketball, MCL is a ligament found in your knee that results in a torn or ruptured manner due to sudden changes in direction or excessive & repetitive stress inflicted on the knee.
How to Avoid: For athletes that perform intense running exercises, this also puts a lot of strain on the knee. Proper stretching in this area, including speed work, adds versatility and resilience to the knee.
Injury # 4: Sprained Ankle
Sprained ankles occur due to unstable footing or positioning when poor landing of a foot happens upon contact with the ground. In ankle sprains, ligaments are overstretched, causing soft tissue damage and can range from mild to severe swelling.
How To Avoid: Preconception training is an effective method of preventing ankle sprains or injuries since this type of training focuses on balance during intense & strenuous activities. Wobble boards and ankle braces are also effective alternative methods.
While these injuries are considered the most avoidable rugby injuries, various common injuries also include hematoma and concussions. However, these two cannot fall under the most avoidable rugby injury category since hematoma is a common end game result of the tackling and in fact, part of the object of the sport itself. Concussions, although rather highly dangerous, are a nature of rugby as well. On a safer note, the Rugby Football Union is working towards processing head injuries in further development to possibly prevent these from happening. Rugby, while acclaimed as a natural sport, can still be improved on to increase the safety of its players and avoid any high-threatening injuries in the near future.