Rugby is one of the most popular sports in Ireland, as well as one of the roughest. Although many sports are classified as contact sports, few take this classification as literally as rugby. There are very few parts of the body that can escape from a match unscathed, although usually the injuries are inconsequential. But as it is such a contact-heavy sport, serious injuries can occur. In this blog, we’re going to look at which injuries are the most common, and what actions you can take to avoid them.
Almost half of all rugby injuries are inflicted upon the muscles. Due to the nature of the game, our muscles are very susceptible to either straining or bruising. This can be very disruptive to a player and their team, so knowing how to prevent these injuries is very important.
Head injuries could account for as much as a quarter of all rugby injuries, with the majority of these being concussions.
Fractures account for roughly a third of all injuries in schoolchildren, with the collarbone being the most commonly fractured bone in the body.
Finally, sprains represent around 15% of all rugby injuries, with most of the sprains occurring in the ankle.
Who is at risk?
Although the injuries mentioned above are the most common injuries in rugby, different people will be at risk in different ways. As mentioned above, schoolchildren are most at risk of fracturing their bones. This is because our bones are still developing into our 20s, so fractures are a particular concern for younger players. 10 to 18 year olds are the most commonly injured age group, with 25-34 being the second most common.
Hookers and flankers are the most injured players on the team, as they have to deal with the most physical aspects of the game. After that, forwards are the most at-risk than the rest of the team, particularly in terms of tackling.
How to prevent injuries
When it comes to activities as physically demanding as rugby, injuries are something that comes with the territory. But that doesn’t mean you can’t greatly reduce your risk.
It has been shown that the vast majority of rugby injuries take place at the beginning of the season. This is because people have fallen out of their training routine, or have practiced improperly. The best action any player can take to avoid injury is to ensure that you train properly off-season. It is also important not to get overzealous at the start of the season, and risk having to sit it out.
Although the majority of rugby injuries occur during matches, it may surprise you that 43% of injuries are sustained during training. While some of this is inevitable, the figure of 43% is a lot higher than you would expect, and may stem from people not taking training as seriously as a match.
Finally, it is important that you be aware of what injuries you are likely to sustain. For example, backs commonly injure their knees, as their medial collateral ligament can be easily torn if tackled in an unnatural position. You should focus on training the parts of your body that are the most exposed, and most uncomfortable after training. It is also important to be aware of your position at all times, so that you can try and control how your body falls if you are tackled.