Injury Prevention in Contact Sports

sport injuryRugby League is probably the most popular football code here in NSW, but other sports like AFL, Rugby Union, hockey and soccer are very popular as well. Although Rugby League is traditionally a male dominated sport, the popularity of the different codes among women is rising (as the huge popularity of the Women’s Rugby World Cup finals in Ireland during August this year demonstrated).

More and more youngsters and adults are taking up the game, many of whom have been enthused by the build up to this year’s NRL Telstra Premiership Grand Final that takes place at the ANZ Stadium in Sydney on October 1st. Bathurst Chiropractor, Dr Ben Purcell sees many patients who have sporting injuries and injury prevention is becoming a ‘hot topic’.

What Kinds of Injuries Occur in Contact Sports?

These sports involve rapid acceleration, deceleration and changes of direction and, in the case of AFL and the Rugby codes – hard tackling. Due to the high speed and contact nature of these sports, it is likely that many players will get an injury of some kind during the season. Quite a lot of these injuries will be as a result of impacts or collisions.

Common injuries include:

  • Muscle strains and bruising
  • Sprains, particularly ankle sprains
  • Lower limb injuries, particularly to knee, calf and ankle
  • Dislocations
  • Fractures
  • Cuts and Lacerations
  • Head injuries and concussion

Statistics show that there are more injuries at the beginning of the season. This suggests that improvements in players’ pre-season conditioning program could help with injury prevention.

Coaching in the correct techniques to use when tackling, in defence, and when falling, could help to reduce the number of injuries and their severity.

Preventing Injury

Preparation is key in the prevention of sporting injuries! Ensure that you have a good warm up, stretching and cool down routine before and after every practice and every match. If you are a young player or are involved in the junior Rugby codes in any way, you will be interested in the 20-minute warm-up program devised by Bath University in the UK using game-based activities in training in a four step approach that is expected to cut injuries among young players by 70%! In this program, the exercises change every four weeks throughout the season as players progress. The RFU in the UK are already rolling-out this new warm-up program.

Train with an appropriately qualified Coach

This is vital in order to develop the techniques, skills, strength, balance, flexibility and coordination that will help to prevent injury.

Wear the right protective equipment

  • Wear a custom-fitted mouthguard at all times during practice and matches.
  • Wear protective headgear.
  • Speak to your Bathurst Chiropractor on appropriate footwear for you and whether taping and bracing are appropriate in your case to reduce the risk of injury.

Avoid playing if you have a pre-existing injury

Your Bathurst Chiropractor can help whether you have an acute injury or a chronic problem that ‘niggles’ or keeps recurring. Many injuries are prone to recurrence because they have never healed completely or correctly after the initial injury – or, because our bodies are good at compensating for any problem that more stress is put on other areas.

Your Chiropractor can also help with the prescription of exercises that will build strength and improve joint mobility in the affected area. This will help to prevent a recurrence.

For problems with a biomechanical cause, the holistic, conservative care that Chiropractic offers provides a safe and effective way to put things right. If an injury problem is sidelining you, please call (02) 6331 1004 now to schedule an appointment.

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