Tackling is a major mechanism of pre season training injuries in English National Division One Rugby Union players
University of Wales Institute Cardiff
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Objectives: To conduct a prospective epidemiological study of pre season training injuries sustained by semi-professional rugby union players in an English National Division One club. It is hoped that major mechanisms of injury and injury types will be identified and provide valuable information to the coaching and medical staff to enable them to make the training environment safer for the players. Methods: A nine week prospective design was used to record information on pre season training injuries to all first team squad members of Launceston RFC (Cornish All Blacks). The clubs chartered physiotherapist recorded all injuries that were treated on a standardised injury report form. A set of guidelines were provided for the physiotherapist to refer to whilst completing the form. An injury was defined as ‘any occurrence during rugby related training for Launceston RFC that requires physiotherapist attention’. Results: A total of 42 injuries were recorded over 22 training sessions. The overall incidence of injury occurrence was 1.68 injuries per session. Tackling (51%) was the most common mechanism of injury, with running the second most common, accounting for 33% of all injuries sustained. The majority of tackling injuries resulted in injury to the tackled player (81%). The major location of injury as a result of a tackle was the lower limbs (50%) and the majority of tackling injuries occurred in the second hour of a training session (77%). Muscle/tendon injuries were the most common type of injury (50%) and the vast majority were lower limb (90%). Outside backs were the most commonly injured players (62%). Conclusions: Attention should be paid to the tackle area; in particular, the tackled player should be educated how to take contact on their own terms. Further standardised data collection is warranted to investigate pre season injuries in rugby union.
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