Rugby five-eighths at risk
CLARENCE Valley rugby union players take note: on-field position may determine their chance of dislocating their shoulder, a recent study has shown.
The study featuring in the March 2011 issue of The Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport (JSAMS), published by Sports Medicine Australia, is the first to focus on the risk factors for shoulder dislocations in the sport.
Results showed that the likelihood of players sustaining shoulder injuries requiring surgical reconstruction for instability depends on their on-field position at the time of injury.
The five-eighth position is considered a high-risk position with an increased injury risk in flankers and fullback positions.
The wing is considered a significantly safer position with lesser injury risk in the second row.
A tackle was the most prevalent cause of shoulder injury, with players more likely to suffer injury to their non-dominant shoulder.
Author of the study, Associate Professor Desmond Bokor from the Australian School of Advanced Medicine, Macquarie University, Sydney, said hopefully the information would assist coaches before and during the season.
“It is well documented that the high-collision nature of rugby union is conducive to injury,” Bokor said.
“While forwards are generally recognised as having a greater incidence of injuries when compared to the backs, when looking particularly at the incidence of injury leading to shoulder reconstruction for instability the five-eighth and fullback positions also have a higher risk.”
Bokor also said flankers make more tackles and spend more time in high intensity situations with the least recovery time.
“Wings make the least number of tackles, spend a higher proportion of match time completing low-intensity activities and have the longest recovery times,” he said. “Understanding the differing risks should assist players, trainers, coaches and sports medicine professionals to better plan pre-season conditioning and incorporate improved muscle coordination programs for the non-dominant shoulder.
“It also assists team physicians in planning the rehabilitation and return to sports participation for players who have already recovered from reconstructive surgery for shoulder instability.”
For more safety tips visit www.sma.org.au