Playing rugby requires a combination of skills not seen in many sports. Today’s players are expected to be both strong and agile to get to the top of the game. As with most sports, it’s players are often prone to specific types of injuries due to the nature of the game.

A study by the RFU revealed that in rugby it was the flankers and hookers that were the positions most likely to sustain an injury. You’re also more likely to get injured during a game than in training. Of those injuries sustained during a game, over half happened during a tackle.

These are the injuries most common in rugby players.

Head Injuries

From facial lacerations to concussions, head injuries are the most common injury on the rugby pitch. Thankfully, there are a lot more options for head protection these days and concussion is taken much more seriously by the sports governing body.

All players with suspected concussion need to be cleared by a medical professional before they are allowed to train and play again.


Muscle and ligament Pulls

The tackling and sudden start and stop nature of rugby can lead to main pulled muscles or sprained ankles which can be very painful. Physiotherapy is great for helping you maintain your range of movement while also strengthening your muscles and ligaments.

In severe cases, surgery may be required.


Many a rugby player has needed to have their shoulder popped back into place by a medical professional before.

The contact nature of rugby means that most players will at some point find they have a dislocated shoulder or finger. With rest and physiotherapy, you can regain your strength and reduce the chances of dislocating it again in the future.


Bursitis and tendonitis

The continual repetition of certain actions can lead to overuse injuries. This is most often seen in the shoulders, elbows, knees and ankles. Though this is not as serious as a traumatic injury, players will still need to see a physiotherapist in order to keep the joints supple and pain-free.


Back injuries

Rugby is a contact sport, which requires players to tackle, therefore it increases the risk of neck and back injuries like a prolapsed or slipped disc.

Repeated tackling can cause swelling and nerve pain. Serious cases will require surgery in order to relieve the pressure on the spine.



Interestingly, fractures are more likely to occur in younger players than the more seasoned on a team. This is thought to be because older players have more of an understanding of how to tackle and be tackled properly. So there are some physical advantages to getting older. Of those fractures that do occur, they are most often found to be in the collarbone or hands.


Medical help

Though the above might seem like a who’s who of horrible injuries, it’s important to remember that many common injuries sustained by rugby players are very treatable. Access to medical professional, doctors, surgeons and physiotherapists is better now that it has ever been, allowing players to have long, successful playing careers.


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