NCTV Episode 95
Continuing with the series of bitesize health tip videos which can be found here on my YouTube Channel, this episode, includes:-
- The health benefits of rugby
- The most common rugby injuries
- Post-injury PEACE & LOVE
- How to reduce the risk of injury
- Ways to help prevent injury
If you’d prefer to read the content within, rather than watch the video, then feel free to read the transcript, as follows:-
Hello and welcome to NCTV Episode 95 which is all about Rugby Injuries and how to overcome them.
So the rugby World Cup 2023 is currently in full swing with England doing well thus far having won 3 in 3.
To start with the positives, the fitness required for rugby benefits our heart, bones and muscles and can help prevent disease and it may also help combat anxiety, stress or depression. Additionally, a team sport is a great way to make friends, enjoy camaraderie, learn about resilience, improve our communication skills or simply have fun.
However, if you watch the game you’ll know that this is contact sport not for the faint-hearted! A few stats for you – As many as 1 in 4 rugby players will be injured during a season and more commonly it’s the tackler who gets injured rather than the ball carrier with the average player performing 20-40 tackles per match. Injuries occur more often during matches than in training and they tend to occur more often in the second half of the match when fatigue and lack of concentration sets in.
When it comes to the types of injuries, over 40% of them are muscular strains or bruising. 30% are ligament sprains followed by dislocations, fractures, lacerations, and overuse injuries. If you do get a ligament sprain, it will most commonly be of the ankle joint which represents almost 1 in 7 rugby injuries. And finally, between 5-25% of rugby injuries are head injuries, of which, 44% are concussions.
Looking at the most common injuries first; strains, sprains and contusions (or bruising), these can often be hard to prevent due to the nature of contact sports and the sudden changes of direction required. However, physical therapy such as osteopathy, physio and the like can help to reduce the pain & swelling and ensure flexibility is returned to that muscle, as well as adequate strength and the recovery would usually be within days to weeks. Fortunately, most of these injuries don’t require surgery. If you do sustain one of these injuries, be sure to follow the rules of the acronym PEACE & LOVE for the first 24-72 hours after an injury then follow it up with rehabilitation to achieve a faster recovery and reduced risk of re-injury.
If you’re not familiar with PEACE & LOVE; PEACE is what you would do immediately after an injury and LOVE should take place a few days later to assist your rehab.
So starting with PEACE:-
The P stands for Protection, so avoid the activities or movements that increase the pain for the first few days.
E stands for Elevation, so raise the injured area above the level of the heart as much as possible.
A stands for Avoid and in this case that would be anti-inflammatories or over-icing an area, as research has suggested this actually can inhibit healing.
C is for Compression, so use bandages or taping to reduce swelling and support the injured area.
E is for Education, meaning you should learn about your injury and what is best for your body to recover.
Now onto LOVE and the:-
L stands for Load and this is where you need to seek advice on how to gradually start exercising again.
O is for Optimism where you should think positively about your recovery.
V is for Vascularisation so choose pain-free activities to increase blood flow to repairing tissues.
Finally E for Exercise to restore mobility, strength and balance by adopting an active approach to recovery.
With Concussions, these are a brain injury from either a direct blow to the head or whiplash and no matter how mild it may seem at the time, the best place for a player suffering from one, is on the bench. Mental and physical rest will then be required before introducing exercise to re-train balance followed by a slow controlled progressive return to sport.
Whilst there is a high risk of injury playing rugby, there are ways to make the game safer and reduce your risk.
Running through eight of them:-
1) The first can be through receiving coaching on safe and correct techniques such as how to tackle correctly and adhering to the rules of the scrum.
2) Secondly is education to coaches, parents and players on identifying an injury, be that a serious neck injury or concussion and knowing when to remove that player from the game and refer them for medical help which can be critical to ensure a good outcome.
3) Third is ensuring an adequate warm up takes place before training or a game and this can help to prevent injury.
4) Fourth is preparation in the form of pre-season training and strengthening to prevent injuries. The stronger you are the better your body can withstand the forces and loads experienced during rugby.
5) Fifth, completing rehabilitation of past injuries before returning to play to ensure optimal recovery and prevention of another injury.
6) Sixth is to ensure a good level of general fitness as the majority of injuries occur in the latter part of games with the onset of fatigue. Therefore, being fit to play a full-length game is crucial.
7) Seventh, a properly fitting mouthguard.
8) Finally eighth, participate at a level consistent with your ability.
Remember though, you don’t have to be injured to seek a physical therapist such as myself. Prevention is better than cure and part of your pre-season prep could be to include a body check-up or MOT so to speak, nipping any niggles in the bud and addressing any areas of weakness or imbalance. Certain stretches and exercises can then be issued to reduce your risk of sustaining an injury and being ‘benched’ for the rest of the season.
To wrap up, whilst rugby is a physically demanding sport, with the right knowledge and precautions you can minimise risk of injury and enjoy it safely.
That’s it for this week’s bitesize bit to help your health flourish and I’ll see you again next time.
Bye for now!