Rugby – both union and league formats – can be a very dangerous sport to play. The risks of getting injured are fairly high due to the extremely physical nature. Injuries sustained from tackling, scrummaging and even running are fairly common.
During an average rugby season, 25 per cent of players will sustain an injury that results in them missing one or more matches. The most common injuries are:
Pulled muscles and joint injuries
A pulled muscle is the most common injury in rugby and may occur when muscles are overstretched or have not been warmed up sufficiently. Muscle cramp may also occur, specifically when the player’s body is tired in the latter stages of the game.
The risk of injury can be minimised through training the players on how to tackle safely, how to take a tackle, and how to scrummage safely. Resources such as https://www.sportplan.net/drills/Rugby/ will have a rugby drill or rugby drill video that suits your needs. Warming up properly before the match, or before coming on as a replacement, can also help to avoid muscle injuries.
Fractures are a common injury, particularly amongst younger players. Approximately 25 per cent of all fracture injuries involve the collarbone.
Potentially the most serious injuries that can be sustained in rugby, somewhere between five and 25 per cent of rugby injuries are head injuries. According to the Professional Rugby Injury Surveillance Project (PRISP) report for the 2015-16 season, concussion comprises 20 per cent of all injuries to the ball carrier and 47 per cent of all injuries to the tackler. Repeated concussions may cause long-term brain injuries, so headgear should be worn where feasible.
Cauliflower ear is the informal name given to a deformity of the outer ear, so called because of its cauliflower-like appearance. Rugby players are prone to this, as they often take a blow to the ear when in a scrum/ruck.
Bruises, friction burns and scratches are a common sight in rugby, although they will not usually cause players to miss matches. These injuries can occur during the scrum or ruck or during a tackle.
Joints can become dislocated when they are forced into an unnatural position. A dislocation is usually a match-ending injury and requires medical attention and rest.