Common Rugby Injuries And How To Avoid Them!

Posted on January 3rd, 2014 at 1:40 am by

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Rugby is a tough sport and puts strenuous demands on the players’ muscles, joints and ligaments.  Some of the severest sporting injuries occur on the rugby field as players smash into each other or collide with the ground while scrumming, rucking, and tackling.  Broadly speaking, rugby injuries can be grouped under two categories — overuse-injuries and impact-injuries.  Whether you’re playing  rugby for fitness or fun, make sure you do everything to avoid the following most common rugby injuries.

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Knee Ligament Injury

This injury occurs when you abruptly change direction while running, usually when being tackled.  The impact of a tackle or the angular force acting upon the knee while jinking to avoid a tackle tears the fibres in the knee ligament (called medial collateral ligament or MCL).  Sometimes, the whole ligament might break because of the sudden force of a tackle, incapacitating a person for several weeks or months.

Training is the only way to prevent an MCL injury.  The knee needs to be conditioned to withstand the stress and strain of instantaneous direction changes and tackles.

Calf Muscle Injury

The injury is caused when a player tears a calf muscle (the Gastrocnemius or Soleus muscle) during running.  The reasons for a calf injury include improper warm-up or stretching, incorrect running technique, or an excessive inward or outward roll of the foot while sprinting.

In order to prevent a calf injury, warm up gradually and properly before getting into the game.  Use an ice-bath to relieve the stretched muscles, and concentrate on adopting the correct running posture.

Thigh Injury

A direct blow to the thigh ruptures the blood vessels, causing a severe bruise and clotting.  Rugby players commonly suffer this injury and there’s no real way to avoid it.  Rugby is a contact sport, so these injuries are bound to happen when you’re on the field.

The only thing you can do is to treat immediately with RICE (rest, ice, compression, and elevation), so that the damage to the area is not aggravated and a quick recovery can be achieved.

Hamstring Injury

It’s basically an overuse injury caused when the fibres in the hamstring muscle become frayed, stretched or torn.  It happens when you’ve not warmed up properly or have not rested enough between games.  Weak muscles, poor running technique, incorrect stretching, and sprinting on tired muscles can also cause hamstring injury.

The injury can be avoided by getting adequate rest between sessions, conditioning to build resilience, keeping yourself hydrated, and getting coaching for proper running technique.

Concussion Injury

 photo rugby-injuries_zps5a2107ca.jpgThis potentially most lethal traumatic injury is caused by a blow to the head.  A concussion can cause unconsciousness, coma or even death.  It is hard to avoid unless helmets are introduced in rugby, which would change the basics of rugby and what makes it such a great game.

Due to the serious nature of a concussion, the players should be briefed about correct playing technique.  When a head injury occurs, the victim should be immediately transferred to a hospital for analysis of the severity of the injury and initiating a recovery procedure.  Unless you are playing in a life-or-death match, don’t get into situations that might cause a head injury to you or another player.

Injuries are a part of all contact sports.  It is impossible to avoid them without changing the face of the game, which would take away the charm from the heart-pumping action that rugby is about.  Training and conditioning for building up flexibility and strength, warming up before a game, not over-exerting, and knowing about the treatment when an injury occurs are about the only things that you can do.

About the Author

Dr Garry J McCLean is a health and safety writer at The Workplace Depot, a large UK supplier of first aid and medical equipment for the workplace.

License: Image author owned

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