What Are The Most Common Rugby Injuries?

What Are The Most Common Rugby Injuries?

Without denying that we’re talking about a contact sport, under the present article I intend to move away from one of the most widespread myths in the world of sport: that rugby is dangerous.

To do this, we’re going to find out what the most common rugby injuries are through some research, as well as how they can be prevented and what their treatments involve.

Rugby injury prevention

Are you a rugby fan? Do you practice it in an amateur or professional way? What I am going to tell you here will interest you, and a lot 😉

Is rugby a dangerous sport?

I would like to start by putting one question before another: Which sport is not dangerous?

That’s to say, in all sports that we play there is always a risk of possible injury, as in practically all of them there is a risk of contact between us, ours rivals or partner.

Don’t be afraid to practise sport. Daily sport practice, together with a balanced diet, helps you to live a healthier life.

Perhaps rugby has been treated as a high contact sport, and thus a risky or dangerous one, for many decades, leaving aside its great history, as well as its principles of companionship and respect for the rival.

How a rugby player is injured

Throughout the post we’ll review the most common injuries in this sport, as well as the routines that amateur and professional players should follow to try to prevent them.

What are the most common injuries in Rugby?

A large number of studies have been carried out in recent decades on the rugby injury rate.

We’re going to base the following data on the 1996 season in the Buenos Aires Rugby Union Championship, in its highest category.

In this analysis, 150 players from three teams were studied, following the number of injuries they suffered during the season.

The data showed average results of a total of 17 injuries per 1,000 hours of play, 73 total injuries in the 22 matches analysed in the season (not taking into account those occurring in training, increasing the number to 94 injuries in 75 players).

Does this fact reflect that rugby is a harmful or dangerous sport?

The number isn’t exactly low, but if compared to other sports, the figure is similar, with it being identical to that reflected in football, although lower (by a considerable margin) than others, such as hockey, with 78.

Number rugby injuries

The percentage of mild injuries was 24%, moderate 47% and severe 29%.


These are the so called overuse injuries. In the above mentioned study by Dr. Costa, Dr. Godoy and Dr. Ayerza, a percentage of 26% is reserved to: tendonitis, muscle injuries or similar.

Undoubtedly, in these areas, it’s especially important for the sportsperson to look after: rest, preventive treatments, feeding and supplementation.

Traumatic injuries

Blows, tackles, high impact contacts. All of them can result in an injury in the rugby world.

Most common rugby injuries

The study of the Argentinean professional sport shows that 74% of the injuries of the 150 players analysed were traumatic.

Without a doubt, this data makes it clear that rugby is a contact sport, although compared to other sports it’s still not as high, as we have seen before.

Joint sprains (30%) are the most common injury in the world of rugby, with half of them being some kind of fracture (15%).

Concussion and cervical lesions

According to Dr Firman, a doctor of Orthopaedics and Traumatology at the Austral University Hospital, head and neck injuries “are exceptional in rugby”, although it is no less important, he stresses, “to diagnose possible concussions on the pitch itself”.

Rugby safety guards

Related to this, the Argentinean Rugby Union obliges all teams in its competition to carry out a pre-competitive medical fitness study.

What is the purpose of this analysis? The aim is to find out if there is a narrowing of the congenital canal of the cervical spine. If the study is positive, the medical services would know if the player had a greater risk of cervical spinal cord injury in case of any contusion in the area.

Do you know what a concussion is and what causes it?

According to the Spanish Rugby Federation’s Concussion Training Guide, this is a “traumatic brain injury, which can be caused by a direct blow to the head or body, and by whiplash type movements of the head and neck that occur when a player is blocked or collides with another player, the ground or an environmental element (posts, fences, etc.). Immediately after a suspected concussion, the brain is susceptible to further damage if another impact occurs”.

For this reason, the player must be immediately removed from the field of play to be examined by the medical services.

How to treat rugby injuries

It is precisely this last point that is the most important: medical services must study and treat players’ injuries on the pitch itself in order to avoid possible serious injuries.

Prevention of rugby injuries

According to Paloma Loza, physics coordinator of the Rugby Federation of Madrid, prevention work in this sport is important because “it prevents the player from injuring themselves more and because of it having to stop: physical and psychological decline; and then a difficult return to activity”.

Working to prevent them

Within the work specified to prevent possible injuries in a contact sport, aside from protections, being in the best possible physical condition is essential.

Correct physical training prevents many of the possible injuries that can occur in any type of sport, while training and psychological strength can improve competition.

With regard to the prevention of traumatic injuries, the use of protective items is of vital importance: oral, cranial or joint. According to the studies analysed, in the vast majority of cases such protections are “very poor or non-existent”.

The International Rugby Football Board, does not authorise the use of any external protectors that have fasteners or solid structures that could injure the tackler, but authorises padded protectors for the shoulders or head.

Do you play rugby? Don’t miss the specific content we have prepared on the most important supplements you should include in your diet.

New rules in Rugby to avoid injuries

The International Rugby Federation has been working for several years on the possible change of some rules of the sport in order to try to avoid injuries.

New rugby rules

The most controversial, and which has been tested in the lower categories in France, is to ban tackles Not all, only those on the rival above the waist.

What do you want to avoid with this measure?

It’s an attempt to decrease the number of possible concussion injuries. Although in this article we talked about the fact that rugby is not a harmful or violent sport, the truth is that the number of brain injuries is quite high.

The safety of sportsmen and women is of concern to those responsible for this sport.

Bibliographic References

Other content that you can read about in relation to the subject:

  • How to avoid injuries in football. Go to this link
  • What are the most common injuries in tennis? Find out more in the tennis section of the HSN Blog. Click here.
Review of Rugby Injuries

A dangerous sport? - 100%

Overuse injury - 100%

Trauma - 100%

Neck injuries - 100%


HSN Evaluation: 5 /5
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About José Miguel Olivencia
José Miguel Olivencia
José Miguel Olivencia is a professional of communication and sport. He has always tried to combine them in his different professional experiences, like in HSN and the HSN Blog.
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