Rugby injuries: Understand, treat, prevent!

No matter what level of rugby you play, injuries will happen at some point, but we’re here to help you understand, treat and prevent three of the most common ones: let’s kick off.

Concussion

Scrums, rucks, mauls: during these parts of the game, there’s a good chance at least two players are are going to butt heads and if the blow is strong enough, it can cause a concussion – but what is it and how do you know if you have one?

Basically, it’s a brain injury that’s caused by impact that causes the brain to shake inside of your skull. It’s difficult for a doctor to diagnose immediately because there are no visible, physical symptoms. If the doctor sees that you’re dizzy, nauseous, having trouble balancing on your feet and/or severe headaches, it’s more than likely that you have a concussion and will be treated accordingly.

Muscle strain

Muscle strains are caused by the overstretching of a muscle, which becomes weighed down with pressure and eventually reaches a breaking point that can result in a partial or complete tear.

In rugby, this can be caused by sprinting, landing awkwardly after a tackle, kicking the ball and/or by not stretching, warming up (and cooling down) properly.

According to Physioroom, there are three different grades that help the doctor decide what the best treatment for the muscle strain will be.

GRADE 1 strain

There is damage to individual muscle fibres (less than 5% of fibres). This is a mild strain which requires 2 to 3 weeks rest.

GRADE 2 strain

There is more extensive damage, with more muscle fibres involved, but the muscle is not completely broken. You’ll need approximately a 3 – 6 weeks of recovery time.

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GRADE 3 strain

This is a complete rupture of a muscle. In a sports person this will usually require surgery to repair the muscle. The rehabilitation time is around 3 months.

Treatment and prevention

To treat all muscle injuries you need to know the PRICE!

P: Protect the injury so that there is no further damage.

R: Rest the muscle

I: Keep an ice pack on the injured area

C: Compression

E: Keep the injured area elevated (on a stable platform off the ground)

You can lessen the chances of falling victim to these injuries by simply: warming up for approximately 20 minutes before the match starts and by making sure that you have high-carbohydrate meals 24-48 hours before the game. This will ensure that your body has enough energy to power through the opposition! Let’s go!

Sources
http://www.webmd.com/brain/tc/traumatic-brain-injury-concussion-overview
http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/concussion/basics/symptoms/con-20019272
http://www.physioroom.com/prevention/muscle_strains.php
http://physioworks.com.au/Injuries-Conditions/Activities/rugby-union-injuries