Rugby is a fast-moving and high intensity team sport. Although historically dominated by males, the sport is gaining popularity among females.
As many as 1 in 4 rugby players will be injured during the season. On average each player performs 20- 40 tackles per match. Almost 25% of neck injuries occur when there is a mismatch in experience between the two opposing front rows.
A lower ranked or less skilled team within the division, a forward position, being tackled, and beginning of the season are identified as risk factors for rugby injuries.
More injuries occur during matches (57%) than in training, and more often in the second half of the game. Approximately half of all injuries occur while a player is tackling or being tackled.
Which Rugby Players Suffer the Most Injuries?
Hookers and flankers sustain the most injuries. Forwards are more frequently injured than backs because of their greater involvement in physical collisions and tackles.
In the backs, wings, fullbacks and centres are at the highest risk of injury.
In the scrum, the locks are at greatest risk of facial cuts and cauliflower ear (external deformity to
the ear caused by repeated blows.
Players in rucks and mauls commonly suffer injuries to fingers and thumbs as well as abrasions and lacerations from cleats.
Over 40% of injuries are muscular strains or contusions (bruising), 30% are sprains, followed by dislocations, fractures, lacerations, and overuse injuries.
Sprained and strained ankles are a common injury with ankle sprains representing almost 1 in 7 rugby injuries.
Between 5-25% of rugby injuries are head injuries, including concussions.
In youth aged 10-18 years, 35% of injuries are fractures, of which 24% involve the clavicle.
Superficial injuries represent 20% of rugby injuries, followed by head injuries and sprains (16%).