Rugby injuries from the perspective of a Sports Chiropractor

Training injuries – General incidence

We’ve looked at injuries sustained during match play, now were going to look at training injuries. Again, I will try to add a different perspective as a sports chiropractor. Do you think the same injuries that were common during match play will be the same for training injuries? What is your top five this time? Sciatica? Lower back pain? Shoulder pain? Knee pain or upper back pain? Lets have a closer look at the general incidence of training injuries.

chiropractor back pain specialist The overall incidence of injury sustained at training was between 2.0 and 3.5 per 1000 player hours. Each injury resulted on average between 17.8 and 24 days lost (Brooks, Fuller et al. 2005) (Fuller, Laborde et al. 2008).

An average of 28 training injuries per club per season was calculated across the English Premiership competition during the 2010-2011 season (England Rugby Premiership Injury and Training Audit Steering group 2012).

Recurrences, from training injuries accounted for 19% of all injuries and were more severe (35 days) than new injuries (21 days) (Brooks, Fuller et al. 2005). During the 2010-2011 English premiership competition 74% of recurrent injuries occurred within the first month of return to play, 22% within 1 to 6 months, 2% within 6 to 12 months and 2% were not specified (England Rugby Premiership Injury and Training Audit Steering group 2012).

In a study of 12 English premiership clubs, 22% of all training occurred during the preseason with 34% of all injuries occurred during this period (Brooks, Fuller et al. 2005). Chalmers et al, 2012 found a downward trend in the risk of injury over the course of the season but found no evidence of association between injury rates and participation in preseason training (Chalmers, Samaranayaka et al. 2012) (Bleakley, Tully et al. 2011). Alsop et al, 2005 found no significant difference between time of season and risk of injuries with regard to tackles, scrums, rucks or mauls (Alsop, Morrison et al. 2005).

Most training injuries occurred during non-contact training sessions, with injuries sustained during contact activities being more severe (Brooks, Fuller et al. 2005). Running was the consistent mechanism of injury for both forwards and backs in non-contact training sessions (Brooks, Fuller et al. 2005). The incidence and severity of injuries sustained during skills training were significantly greater than those of conditioning training (Brooks, Fuller et al. 2005)

Again, if you are a player or coach reading this series you would save yourself a couple of trips to your friendly sports chiropractor by investing time and training into the high risk areas of training. The next article will look at specific training injuries and incidence of common injuries.


Alsop, J. C., et al. (2005). “Playing conditions, player preparation and rugby injury: a case-control study.” Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport 8(2): 171-180.

Bleakley, C., et al. (2011). “Epidemiology of Adolescent Rugby Injuries: A Systematic Review.” Journal of Athletic Training 46(5): 555-565.

Brooks, J. H. M., et al. (2005). “Epidemiology of injuries in English professional rugby union: part 2 training Injuries.” British Journal of Sports Medicine 39(10): 767-775.

Chalmers, D. J., et al. (2012). “Risk factors for injury in rugby union football in New Zealand: a cohort study.” British Journal of Sports Medicine 46(2): 95-102.

England Rugby Premiership Injury and Training Audit Steering group (2012). England Rugby Premiership injury and Training audit 2010-2011 season Report, England Rugby Union.

Fuller, C. W., et al. (2008). “International Rugby Board Rugby World Cup 2007 injury surveillance study.” British Journal of Sports Medicine 42(6): 452-459.

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