Rugby is a very popular sport not just in the United States but also around the world as it is full of intensity along with its fast-paced nature. However, as the game becomes more physically demanding, it requires players to become fitter, stronger, quicker, and more powerful. Unfortunately, as these elements improve, the risk of suffering from injury also increases.
According to an RFU report, there are about 17 injuries per 1000 hours of playing, nearly three times higher than the injury rates of American football. These injuries are more likely to happen during matches than in training. The players most at risk of sustaining injuries are hookers and flankers due to their excessive involvement in physical collisions and tackles. Take a look at some of the most common rugby injuries.
Concussions are head injuries that occur due to both mild and serious blows to the head. There are approximately 10.5 concussions for every 1000 hours of playing, over 12% of all match injuries. Due to the contact nature of rugby, concussions are very common, and the risk for them is the same for both the ball carrier and the tackler. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to prevent concussions without changing the nature of rugby altogether. The RFU, however, are working diligently to standardize the process for suspected head injuries. They are also working on improving the awareness of concussions amongst players, coaches, medical staff, and referees.
A Sprained Ankle
A sprained ankle is when you overstretch your ankle ligaments resulting in soft tissue damage. This can also damage the capsule surrounding the ankle which can cause bleeding within the tissues that lead to a swollen ankle. These injuries vary in severity and can go from mild sprains to more severe ligament ruptures and broken bones. There are about 2.9 sprained ankle injuries for every 1000 hours of playing rugby.
Sprained ankles typically occur when you roll your ankle or due to unstable ground. Some examples would be awkwardly planting your foot when running, an uneven landing after a jump, or simply stepping onto an irregular surface. Proprioception training is a great way to prevent ankle ligament injuries because they help players catch their balance during strenuous physical activity. You can also try and tape or brace your ankles during matches to help reinforce the joint.
Thigh Haematomas are severe bruises that are the result of damage to the blood vessels leading to blood leaking around the tissues, causing the formation of a large blood clot. You will find about 4.2 thigh haematoma injuries for every 1000 hours of playing. Thigh haematomas typically occur from a direct blow to the thigh area due to physical contact and impact. As with concussions, it would be very tough to prevent these injuries due to the physical nature of rugby. So, rather than focusing on prevention, it is important to think about a solid recovery plan. RICE (rest, ice, compression, and elevation) principles are effective in reducing the recovery time and get you back on the field much sooner.