(via England Rugby)
A recently published study, led by the RFU and the University of Bath, shows the beneficial impact a newly-devised exercise programme has in reducing overall injuries within youth rugby.
Between 2013-2016, the researchers gathered data from 40 schools and nearly 2,500 players aged 14–18 years. During the four-year-long study, overall injuries fell by 72% when players completed the new exercises at least three times a week. Concussion injuries were reduced by 59%.
This study is the first of its kind in contact sport and was described during the academic peer review process as ‘the benchmark for studies of this kind.
Dr Mike England, RFU Community Rugby Medical Director commented: “The results are impressive and we hope that a related study showing similar effects in the adult community game will be published soon."
A new training and pre-match exercise programme were developed as part of the study. It focuses on balance, strength and agility in order to better prepare players for the physical challenges they face in matches and to mitigate potential injury risks. Split into four stages it takes roughly 20 minutes to complete.
This is made up of: a running warm-up with a change of direction activities (2 minutes); lower-limb balance training (4 minutes); targeted resistance exercises (8 minutes); plus jumping, side-stepping and landing exercises (6 minutes).