Preventing Injury in Contact Sports

Sports-InjuryRugby League is one of the most popular of football codes in NSW, though others, such as AFL, Rugby Union, soccer, and hockey are all very popular. While Rugby League tends to be male dominated, women are becoming more and more involved in all football codes, as was seen during the Women’s Rugby World Cup finals this past August.

The build up to the NRL Telstra Premiership Grand Final happening October 1st at the ANZ Stadium in Sydney this year has raised enthusiasm among fans of all ages, and more fans have begun playing football than ever before. As a result, Dr. Ben Purcell at Bathurst Chiropractic has seen more patients suffering from injuries incurred while playing sports. With the rise in those practicing and playing contact sports, injury prevention has become increasingly important.

Types of Contact Sport Injuries

Many sports involve rapid changes in speed and direction. In the case of some sports, particularly AFL and Rugby, hard tackles are also very common. Because of the high speed and violent contact involved in these sports, many players will experience some type of injury in the course of the season. Many of the injuries are the result of impact. Some of the most common injuries include:

  • Bruises, cuts, and scrapes
  • Muscle strain
  • Sprains, especially ankle sprains
  • Knee, calf, and ankle injuries
  • Dislocated joints
  • Fractures
  • Concussions and other head injuries

Statistics show that a majority of injuries occur near the beginning of the season, suggesting that better conditioning during the pre-season could help prevent many of these early season injuries. Other injuries may also be prevented by coaching players to tackle, defend, and fall in ways that lessen impact.

Minimizing Injury

The first step in preventing injury is good preparation. Establish solid warm up, stretch, and cool down routines and practice these before and after EVERY practice and EVERY match. For young players and Junior Rugby athletes, Bath University in the UK has developed a 20-minute warm up routing that uses game based exercises in a four step training approach that could reduce injuries as much as 70%. The program calls for changes in exercises every four weeks through the season. The RFU in the UK is already using this program.

Train with a qualified coach

Be sure your coach has the appropriate qualifications to train you in the techniques and skills, and to help you develop the strength, flexibility, and coordination needed to minimize your risk of injury.

Use protective gear

Wearing a custom fitted mouth guard and protective headgear during all practices and matches will significantly reduce injury. Consider talking to your Bathurst Chiropractor regarding the best footwear and to determine whether bracing or taping would appropriate for you.

Avoid playing when injured

Trying to play through an injury, or trying to get back in the game before an injury has healed properly, is a sure fire way to aggravate the injury or cause it to recur. If you have an injury, your Bathurst chiropractor can help determine whether the injury is acute or a chronic problem that keeps popping up. An injury that doesn’t heal completely can recur, or can lead to other injuries as the body learns to compensate for the injury by taking on more stress in other areas.

Your chiropractor can also recommend exercises that can help improve strength and mobility in the affected area to help prevent recurrence.

If you have problems of a biomechanical nature, chiropractic offers holistic, non-invasive care that can help you heal. If an injury has you warming the bench, please call (02) 6331 1004 now to schedule an appointment.