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Schoolboy Rugby Injuries

By Simon Coghlan, MSc, MISCP
Muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints, and in some sports, even the spine and brain may be affected in sports injuries. Because of the potential for life-threatening harm in rugby, this sport is followed by researchers across the globe. Detailed figures are collated on rugby injuries from schoolboy player’s right up to internationals. Audit of injury rates in rugby has been shown there is negligible injury in school boys under age 13. More injuries are seen as schoolboys progress through the teenage years, with the U19 level being the most dangerous for producing injuries.

Perhaps surprisingly, boys on first teams are 68% more injury prone than on lower teams. This statistic demands attention. Attributing factors are thought to include relative body height and weight in the pre-adult physique, speed, intensive training, more aggression in play and more risk taking at first team level (this being a common finding across all of late adolescence).

Analysis of injury type, whether it is a first injury or a re-occurrence, which tissues are involved, body areas (shoulder, thigh, knee, ankle), time of injury, and whether injuries occur early or late in the season are all being studied and correlated with information from sports such as soccer, GAA, International Rules, even American football.
Data gathered guides training principles, timing of match fixtures and even rule changes, all aimed at modifying rugby with player safety as paramount.

The more detail known about specific injuries, the more targeted both training, injury prevention and post injury treatment can be.

Each damaged tissue, muscle, tendon, ligament, nerve or bone requires a unique treatment and rehabilitation approach. Chartered Physiotherapists specialising in sports injuries have the knowledge and a range of techniques to address all aspects of injury. Working with coaches we are happy to guide individual and team injury prevention.

Physiotherapists encourage sports participation throughout life but especially in the crucial mid teen years. Research proves a link between rates of drop out of sport in mid teens and reduced participation in sport in later life, which impacts on societal health and fitness. One reason apparently motivated teenagers stop sport can be due to difficulty regaining their place on the team, or recurrent injury forcing prolonged periods away from play. In either case physiotherapy rehabilitation addresses specific underlying physical issues: individually weak muscles, reduced fitness, biomechanical issues and poor core stability.

Copyright TherapyXperts

Simon Coghlan MISCP is a senior Chartered Physiotherapist and Medical Acupuncturist. He practices at TherapyXperts Mount Merrion. Tel: 0818 333 611/01 2834043.
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