Rugby is one of the most competitive, fast-paced and high-impact sports, with a high level of contact, which means it often sees a lot of injuries. Elements of the game such as tackling and scrummaging result in a large amount of stress being put on the body, including the upper back, neck, shoulders, hips and knees.

According to a Board Member of the BCA, rugby injuries most commonly peak during the first part of the second half of a game, which is around the 40-60 minute mark. This is cited as being due to a combination of players becoming tired after playing the first half and then having a 15-minute break, during which they are cooling down before getting straight back out on the field. Poor technique and warming up and cooling down inadequately can also lead to injuries. 

Some of the most common rugby injuries include:

Hamstring injuries

With rugby being a sport that includes a lot of running with sudden changes of direction, hamstring injuries are common. Depending on the severity of the injury, it could take anything from a few days to months to heal. Rugby players can limit the occurrence of this type of injury by ensuring that their muscles are properly warmed-up before matches. 

Shoulder injuries

The most common injury of the shoulder in rugby is through direct impact, usually by falling on the shoulder. However, the impact of scrums and tackles in rugby can put a huge amount of strain on the shoulders leading to sprains and bruising, shoulder dislocations, and fractures, and can even cause collar bones to break. 

Back Injuries

Back injuries are another common injury in rugby and they happen most often while tackling. They can be caused by being tackled at an awkward angle, or by being forced back causing an over-extension of the lower back. Traumatic tackles can have a significant impact on your spinal health.

Neck Injuries

Whiplash following a rugby tackle is a traumatic injury which may lead to neck pain, you may also wrench your neck in a tackle or scrum. Traction injuries of the nerve bundle coming from the neck are usually caused by tackling someone. Depending on how severe the neck injury is, you may experience electric-stinging pain, which doesn’t typically last long but in bad cases could continue for days.

Knee & Hip Injuries

Hip and knee injuries are not uncommon whilst playing rugby either. The quick change of direction, combined with tackling and the chance of someone landing on your leg can lead to damage of a variety of structures within the hip and knee. 

Head injuries

An impact to the head from being tackled or falling can cause compression in the cervical spine, leading to neck pain, shoulder pain and even weakness in the arms. This common injury can become a chronic problem without receiving the correct treatment.

Signs of concussion are very important to look out for during a rugby match when dealing with head injuries. The list of symptoms is vast, but the most obvious are headaches, signs of confusion, nausea or vomiting. A suspected concussion should result in immediate removal from the game until assessed and dealt with properly. 

If you become injured playing rugby, contact a chiropractor at Backworks who will work with you to develop an individual treatment plan to reduce pain and support you throughout the recovery period. Give us a call on 01702 342329 to find out more.