Injuries are common place on the rugby field and often cannot be avoided. However specific injuries can be avoided, or at least be reduced in their severity, with the appropriate training. The use of musculoskeletal (meaning muscles and bones) screens for athletes attempts to identify possible risk factors for specific injuries athletes might encounter when participating in specific sports.
Once risk factors have been identified, an appropriate training program for an athlete can be implemented to decrease their risk of injury. Alternatively a sporting screen can be used to unlock a players potential by identifying areas that the athlete can improve to increase their current performance on the rugby field.
A sport screen is comprised of 2 parts; a questionnaire and the musculoskeletal screen. The questionnaire provides information that might be relevant to an athlete’s risk of injury and includes:
- Knowing their training habits
- Injury history
- Protective equipment
The musculoskeletal screening component will provide the basis for the preventative strategies for an athlete’s injury risk. The screen involves assessing an athlete’s:
- Running technique
- Muscle length and strength
- Balance (proprioception)
- Testing their joints stability.
The structure of the sporting screen has lower body dominance, due to the higher frequency of lower body injuries compared with the upper body. Where possible the results of the sport screen should be compared to the normal values for an athlete of their age and sporting level. The results of the screen are maintained in the athlete’s permanent file to allow monitoring of their progress. As previously mentioned, the outcomes of the sporting screen allow a physiotherapist to develop a training program for the individual athlete. A training program usually aims to strengthen and stretch a group of muscles to allow the athlete to perform optimally with minimal risk of sustaining a specific injury related to their sport. Hence the benefit of sporting screens allows the athlete to compete more frequently, so for rugby this means having the player of the field from week to week, not on the sideline.
For more information on sporting injuries, or to book an appointment with our professional physiotherapy team, talk to your friendly Gold Coast Physio today on (07) 5574 4303!