younger rugby players at risk of shoulder injuries

Younger Rugby Players at Most Risk of Shoulder Injuries

A new study carried out on young rugby players has revealed they have an increased risk of getting hurt in the sport. Those who play numbers 1-8 were shown to have a particularly increased risk of injury.

So, why are younger rugby players most at risk of shoulder injuries and what did the study reveal? Discover everything you need to know below.

What the latest study revealed

The latest study was carried out by researchers at the University of Limerick, assessing 15 Irish school boy teams. The results showed that young players were more at risk of shoulder injuries than professionals.

Nearly a quarter of injuries in younger players were sprains and dislocations, followed by head and neck injuries. Forward players were also discovered to be three times more susceptible to suffering a concussion than back players.

This isn’t the first study to highlight the risk of injury for younger rugby players. A previous study carried out by the University of South Africa, revealed that male rugby players aged 12-18 had an increased risk of labral injuries. Back players were found to have an increased risk of bony pathology. Interestingly, the study also showed forward players had a 21% increased risk of injury reoccurrence.

Common rugby shoulder injuries

Rugby is a high-contact sport, which means the risk of injury is quite high. There is a lot of direct physical force and tackles involved, making it incredibly easy to suffer a shoulder injury. So what injuries are most common in young players? Here’s a rundown of some of the most common shoulder injuries young rugby players are at risk of developing. 

Sprains and dislocations: The most common shoulder injuries in rugby are sprains and dislocations. Most sprains impact the acromioclavicular joint, while dislocations largely affected the glenohumeral joint. Players who suffer a fracture followed by a dislocation tend to experience more severe injury, while dislocations resulted in more days away from the sport.

Labral tears: Young rugby players are also susceptible to labral tears. These include Bankart tears, Superior Labrum Anterior to Posterior (SLAP) tears, and posterior shoulder instability. Bankart tears tend to occur in players who dislocate their shoulder, while SLAP tears occur at the top of the glenoid where the biceps tendon attaches.

These are some of the most common shoulder injuries young rugby players experience. The good news is a shoulder injury doesn’t need to end your career. With the right treatment, players can often return to the sport in a matter of months, depending upon the severity of their injury.

Treating shoulder injuries in young rugby players

There are various lines of treatment that can be used to treat shoulder injuries in young players. Most of the time, surgery will not be required. Instead, physical therapy, rest, and over the counter medications to control the pain will be all that is needed. However, in severe cases, surgery may be the only option.

To find out which type of treatment is right for you, book a consultation with one of our shoulder specialists today.