Rugby injuries from the perspective of a Sports Chiropractor
Training injuries – Specific injuries
As a sports chiropractor here in Hamilton, I enjoy the passion that follows sport here in the Waikato. I have enjoyed writing and reviewing the material for this series of articles, rugby injuries from the perspective of a sports chiropractor and hope that the articles will be of some assistance. Some of you may be holding your lower back right now because of the back pain you picked up from last nights training, and others may be putting up with a slight limp in their walk from the sciatica you’ve been hoping will go away for the last couple weeks. This article will look specifically at training injuries by injury and position and may at the very least let you know that you’re not alone in your sufferings. Again it is based on current published peer reviewed research so some of the data will be drawn from outside New Zealand. After this series of articles I will offer my own personal approach to common injuries across all sports such as lower back pain, shoulder pain, heel pain, and sciatica to offer an alternate view on how these injuries arise, what can be done about them when they happen, and how to prevent them. Now back to training injuries.
The most common training injuries within English Premiership clubs during the 2010-2011 season in contact rugby skill sessions were hamstring muscle injury, calf pain from muscle injury, shoulder pain from acromioclavicular joint injury and ankle pain from lateral ankle ligament injury. A rise in the number of concussions sustained during contact training was also observed for that season (England Rugby Premiership Injury and Training Audit Steering group 2012).
The most common injuries sustained during conditioning non weights sessions in the same group were hamstring muscle injury, calf pain from muscle injury, hip pain from hip flexor or quadriceps muscle injury and groin pain from adductor muscle injury (England Rugby Premiership Injury and Training Audit Steering group 2012).
Hamstring, calf, hip flexor or quadriceps, and adductor muscle injuries were the most common injuries for backs, whereas hamstring, lateral ligament of the ankle, and lower back pain from lumbar disc or nerve root injuries were more common for forwards. Hamstring muscle and knee pain from anterior cruciate ligament injuries resulted in the greatest number of days lost due to injury for backs (Brooks, Fuller et al. 2005).
In English Premiership Club teams for the 2010-2011 season, injuries from rugby skill trainings sessions resulted in an average of 25 days absence from training and/or playing, whereas injuries occurring during strength and conditioning session resulted in an average of 17 days absence. In the same group, between the years 2002 and 2011 the likelihood of sustaining a training injury during strength and conditioning sessions has varied from 1.3 injuries per 1000 hours to 2.7 injuries per 1000 player hours, with an average severity of injury between 13 and 18 days and total days of absence due to injury between 23 and 44 days per 1000hours (England Rugby Premiership Injury and Training Audit Steering group 2012). In another study group most training injuries were sustained in the tackle during full-contact skills trainings (Fuller, Laborde et al. 2008).
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.
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. (2010). “Injury risks associated with tackling in rugby union.” British Journal of Sports Medicine 44(3): 159-167.
Fuller, C. W., et al. (2007). “Contact events in rugby union and their propensity to cause injury.” British Journal of Sports Medicine 41(12): 862-867.
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.
Fuller, C. W., et al. (2010). “Epidemiological Study of Injuries in International Rugby Sevens.” Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine 20(3): 179-184 110.1097/JSM.1090b1013e3181df1091eea.
Orchard, J. (2002). “Is There a Relationship Between Ground and Climatic Conditions and Injuries in Football?” Sports Medicine 32(7): 419-432.
Simpson, J. C. J., et al. (1999). “Evaluating Tackling Rugby Injury: the pilot phase for monitoring injury.” Australian and New Zealand journal of public health 23(1): 86-88.