Rugby is often painted as a rather violent sport, a game from which players routinely emerge with chipped teeth, broken bones, and severe concussions. But it’s not all that bad; rugby will always be a gentleman’s game at heart, and many people argue that it’s far less dangerous than, say, American football. Besides, this is a sport that we teach our children to play in school, so it’s not exactly rollerball.
Still, injuries do happen – our paramedics are all too aware of that – and if you don’t take certain precautions before a rugby match, they’re all the more likely to occur. Here are four ways for you to minimise the chance of a casualty:
- Warm Up Properly
It’s important to engage in a thorough warm-up before any form of exercise, but it’s particularly crucial before playing rugby. If you’re preparing for a full match, you’ll probably want to spend a solid thirty minutes on the warm-up; be sure to do lots of stretching and pay particular attention to your back muscles, as these will be under a lot of stress during the match.
- Wear Protection
Here’s a quick checklist of what you ought to be wearing when you play rugby: a gum shield (to prevent tooth damage and protect against concussion), a scrum cap (to protect your head and ears), shoulder pads (to protect your shoulders, obviously). Don’t let anyone tell you that you’re soft for taking precautions like these!
- Play by the Rules
The rules are designed to prevent casualties, so make sure you stick to them! Proper rugby tackles are far less conducive to injury than illegal shoulder charges and spear tackles (you may remember that Bradley Davies was suspended for committing the latter offence in a 6 Nations game a couple of years back). There’s a reason why they call it ‘dangerous play’.
- Stop if you Get Hurt
A proper game of rugby is bound to leave you feeling a little sore, but it’s important to know when you’re genuinely hurt. It’s one thing to play on with a bloody nose, but if you sustain a head injury – especially one which leaves you dazed or unconscious, even momentarily – it’s time to call it quits. Playing on when you could be concussed may well lead to more serious injuries, so don’t risk it!