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How to best prevent injuries in Rugby

Unsurprisingly one in four rugby players will suffer an injury throughout a season. The causes and severity of these injuries will vary, however, there are steps that can be taken to help best prevent injuries while playing rugby.   Injuries can be caused through accidents and collisions on the pitch but can also be linked to conditions more in your control. Here are six steps you can take to hep prevent injury when playing rugby. OLD INJURIES Almost every player on a pitch will have suffered an injury in the past and depending on how recent this injury was will reflect in the chance of a recurrence of the injury. For example, lower limb injuries are more likely to reoccur in the first 15 weeks after your return. If you've suffered a serious injury such as an ACL tear, then it is recommended to carry our resistance training at least every two weeks. Smaller injuries or recurrences will need to be self-managed correctly, as well as alerting coaches of any issues you may have. NUTRITION & HYDRATION Meeting your individual needs and demands for your training or competition is crucial be it maintaining body mass, increasing muscle mass or dropping weight. The quantity and quality of food your consuming will be vital in the prevention of protein and tissues breaking down in the body, as well as helping increase the turnaround of energy stores. Hydration is equally as important but will be more dependent on temperature. STRENGTH & CONDITIONING Injuries caused through collisions are a given in rugby, but more frequently players are suffering from acute muscle injuries. Resistance and fitness exercises can not only help improve performance but also reduce the risk of suffering these minor injuries. Therefore, maintaining and following a strength and conditioning plan throughout a season can help prepare the body and reduce the risk of suffering these muscle injuries. Alongside a strength and conditioning plan, you should allow the body to rest for a reasonable amount of time from any contact or collisions. SLEEP Sleep is important to everyday life but in terms of helping prevent injury getting between eight and 10 hours sleep a night consistently will reduce injury risk. So, it’s important to make sue you have a comfortable environment to sleep in which help promotes good sleep. TACKLING TECHNIQUE Tackling with the correct technique will help reduce the risk of suffering an injury through collision, players should not be using their shoulder as a point of direct impact. Using your shoulder as a ‘battering-ram’ like object can lead to serious injury. Therefore, improving your technical skills such as tackling will not only help improve your ability it will help reduce the risk of suffering an injury. To help improve your tackling technique it advised to spend 10-15 minutes extra at training sessions focusing on tackling and over a season progress will be clear to see, by doing this you will be decreasing the chance of suffering a neck or shoulder injury. DON’T TRAIN WHEN YOUR UNWELL The body will have increased demands placed on multiple organs within the body when you’re suffering from an illness. So, even simple illness such as cold and flu will drastically affect your performance and chance of suffering from injury. Prevention is key meaning washing your hands thoroughly, regular cleaning shared spaces and using alcohol hand gel are essential to stop the spreading of illnesses through a team.