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Rugby Injury

Union, League, 7s, Touch

Rugby is a globally popular sport played by both males and females. The two codes, union and league, are played by over 8.5 million people around the world. Shorter, less complex, formats of the game exist with the sevens (7-a-side, played in seven-minute halves) format now a recognised Olympic sport. And in case you wish to try out the sport but are put off by the physical nature there is always a tag/touch version of the game.

To play rugby you need the running endurance of a soccer player (the average distance covered by a professional rugby player in a game is 7 km vs 11km for a soccer player) and the physicality of an American football player.

What are the benefits of playing rugby?

The most obvious benefit of playing rugby is that it's an excellent way to get fit

It helps you develop your strength, speed, agility, balance, coordination, power, endurance, concentration, decision-making skills and teamwork. It can be used as part of a fitness regimen or simply enjoyed recreationally.

Needless to say, the rugby community is very sociable and inclusive.

Is rugby a safe sport?

Likelihood of match injury compared across playing levels Likelihood of match injury compared across playing levels

All contact sports have an inherent risk associated with them.
In rugby, your risk of injury depends on what level you are playing the game at. The older and higher your level of participation, the greater your chances of picking up an injury.

 - Chart from CRISP Project.

Can rugby injuries be prevented?

The nature of rugby means that injuries cannot be eradicated, but there are things you can do to reduce your risk of getting injured:

  • Warm-up properly before games.
  • Ensure you get adequate rest and recovery between games. This also includes appropriate nutrition and good hydration.
  • Wear the correct footwear for the playing surface, and your playing position (front row vs backs).
  • Wear protective gear such as mouth guards, headgear (to protect your ears only. Does not prevent concussion), shoulder foam pads or long sleeve leggings for unforgiving playing surfaces.
  • Complete the RFU Activate injury prevention - 26-40% fewer soft tissue injuries, 29-60% fewer concussions.

What are the most common injuries in rugby?

With running and jumping, a major feature of the game there is the potential for overuse injuries like Achilles or patella tendinitis. However, the collision nature of the sport means that traumatic injuries, sustained during a tackle and/or impact with the ground, are more common.

Top 5 common injuries in professional rugby union 2019/20:

For the latest information on the injury profile of rugby union across all levels in England follow this link to the England Rugby Injury Surveillance and Prevention Project site.

Why see Dr Ade with your rugby injury?

I've always been enthusiastic about rugby, playing on the wing for school and university, eventually hanging up my boots when career and family took precedent. My fondest memory as a player was playing for the Epsom College mighty 3rd XV team when we went a whole season unbeaten!

As a sports medicine physician, I have been able to marry up my enthusiasm for sports and my need to care for patients. I was fortunate to have provided care for England U16 and Saracens Rugby club over several seasons and now sit on a player welfare advisory group for the English Rugby Player's Association (RPA).

I can meet you in Central London or Hertfordshire or via a Zoom video consultation

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