The most common injury that rugby players encounter while playing is a head injury. Head injuries range from lacerations to concussions to skull fractures. It has been reported that head injuries account for more than 20% of all rugby injuries. Once diagnosed with a head injury, rugby players are treated differently based on what type of head injury they have. Oftentimes, treatment for head injuries entails resting until symptoms go away, but lacerations and facial injuries are treated differently. Head injuries are difficult to prevent in rugby, but wearing helmets and awareness are most effective.
The second most common rugby injury is a shoulder injury. The most common form of shoulder injury in rugby players are Acromioclavicular joint (AC Joint) sprains. Shoulder injuries often are caused by players diving for the ball and landing on their shoulders, rupturing ligaments and resulting in sprains and dislocation. The treatment for shoulder injuries depends on the severity. Lower grade AC Joint sprains can be treated by physiotherapists, but grade III strains or anything more severe needs to be examined by doctors and may require surgery. Although difficult to prevent, players may try wearing shoulder support to help.
A hamstring injury is the third most common injury that a rugby player will encounter. Hamstring injuries are very commonly found among rugby players, for example, hamstring injuries were the most common injury to one of England's World Cup winning teams. Hamstring injuries happen at many different severities and the treatment time varies accordingly. In general, the treatment of hamstring injuries will include rest, icing, elevation, and compression. Depending on the severity, hamstring injuries can last anywhere from a couple weeks to multiple months. The best way for an athlete to prevent a hamstring injury is by having good pre and post match and training regimens.
The fourth most common injury among rugby players is a Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) injury. MCL injuries often are caused by a hit to the knee or by sudden changes of direction, both of which happen often to rugby players. MCL injuries happen at a rate of around 3.7 injuries per 1,000 hours played. Generally, MCL injuries do not require surgery and are easily treated, but if severe enough they do. The best way to prevent MCL injuries is to properly train and strengthen your knees, and work on fast movements to give your knee more resilience to sudden shifts.
Ankle injuries are the fifth most common type of injury a rugby player might have. Ankle injuries are very common because they can easily happen as a result of stepping awkwardly. Ankle injuries have many different severities, some of which require little treatment and some that require a great deal. Luckily, ankle injuries can be prevented. By taping the ankles, the number of ankle injuries decreased by almost 28 injuries per 1,000 hours and wearing an ankle brace, it decreased ankle injuries by more than 30 injuries per 1,000 hours.