As we all know, NZ is rugby mad, and for good reason! But what can we do to look after ourselves on and off the field, that can help prevent injuriesand lead to more playing time?
Luckily, 50% of injuries result in no loss of game time. Having said that, that is a huge number that ARE missing out on game time, some of them for whole seasons! The main area of injury in rugby is the shoulder at 18% followed closely by knees, thighs and ankles. Mostly this is because it is a high demand contact sport, with most injuries coming from tackling. Some of these injuries are simply inevitable, but there are some things that can be done to reduce your risk of injury. Here are some tips:
Good preseason training and preparation is important! This is the time you take to condition yourself for all the hits and dives you will be making during the season. If you don’t have this, you’re putting yourself at huge risk of injury!
Avoiding playing with pre-existing injuries and illnesses. This seems obvious, but most people say ‘she’ll be right’ and go back out there, only to be limping off at a later point. Most of the time there is a fix for your pre-existing injury, and most physio’s won’t hold you back from getting out there and playing (unless we really have to!), so it is best to get it checked out before it gets worse! Getting your injured area strapped up can also help out until it is 100% so make the most of our winter strapping clinic.
Always have a good warm up AND cool down. Too often do we see warm ups consisting of a few lengths of the field and a couple of stretches. A good warm up should get you puffing and sweating – no this is not going to drain your match energy, its just going to get you started! It should also include some dynamic want ups, ball skills and a shoulder warm up (tackle pads, push-ups etc). At the same time, having a 10 minute cool down post match can really help those post match aches and pains that seem to appear during the following couple of days, which by the way, can put you at risk of injury at your next training…
During pre-season it is important to have both skill and performance training as well as fitness sessions to build endurance, strength, co-ordination and flexibility. This not only makes you a better player, but it also makes you more aware of where your body is and what it’s doing while you’re out their on the rugby field.
For coaches, it is important to ensure all players are trained well in tackling and scrummaging techniques and that constant practice is encouraged for these activities, so that come crunch time, they are executed well and without risk. Getting the basic skills right at the start of each season is key and they can’t be taken for granted.
Ensure your boots are in good condition. Using your old ones from 5 seasons ago is fine, but not if you have played every season since then in them! The more movement your foot has inside your shoe, the less stable your foot and ankle is and possible ankle, knee and foot injuries can result.
And always remember to RICE immediately following injury = REST, ICE, COMPRESSION, ELEVATION. Follow this link for more info on how to look after your injury.
Good luck and I hope you all have a injury free season!