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Dr Margot Wells

Do injuries occur on the rugby field or on the training ground?

Written by Margot Wells

Rugby is a contact sport and therefore players are susceptible to injuries by the sheer nature of the game but how many could be avoided if the training regimes were less strenuous and there was less time spent in the weights room?

Tired and overused muscles can and frequently do cause injuries but how many are attributed to the training rather than the game. The problem is that the injury may occur in the game and so it is rarely traced to the training ground.

There have never been as many foot, calf and Achilles injuries in the game as there is now, so why is this happening? Could it be the introduction of so many different drills? The drills themselves are fine but it is the length of time doing them and the number of repetitions that is causing the problem. The calf muscles control the ankles but if they are tired and still then an ankle roll that created ligament damage could have been avoided. Too many straight leg pull backs tightens up the hamstrings and lower back and could cause stiff hamstrings leading to strains and pulls.

It is in the weights room that the bulk of the injuries are set up. Too heavy weights, bad techniques and bodies lifting in the wrong place invariably lead to a lot of injuries on the pitch. This is the first place to look if a player is either constantly becoming injured or if a young player has consistent groin problems. 

As young men mature at different rates the weights room cannot be considered as a “what fits one fits all” space. Often 18 year olds look like men but too often their bone structure is still growing and the consistent lifting of heavy weights puts a lot of stress through a spine that has not fully grown or stabilised. Anyway I am a great believer in body weight exercises as often or not the body weighs more than the player can lift!


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