Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Rugby Injuries

Rugby has been in the news (even in the front page of our Straits Times) recently for many reasons the last week or so especially since the fight that broke out in the National Schools 'B' division final which sparked comments even from politicians and newspaper editors (who normally would not even watch rugby).

Well, I'm not about to join in the fray. I am actually going to write about rugby injuries that we've been treating as we've been seeing quite a few patients who play rugby as well in the last month or so (we had a player tearing the ACL representing Singapore at the Hong Kong 7's tournament).

I went to do some research to see if there are any published similarities with our local rugby injuries and here's what I found (although articles were mainly on professional rugby players).

Here's what some of the published papers found. Rugby union is a high risk sports for players' knees, highest among all other football, rugby codes (which supported previous research findings). Medical personnel at clubs reported knee injuries on a weekly basis. Knee injuries accounted for the highest number of days for injury absence (21% of all injury absence days) and were characteristically severe, with a disproportionately high number of days injured per injury.

ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) injuries accounted for the greatest proportion of days missed (255 days or 29% of all knee injury days), followed by MCL (medial collateral ligament). Injuries tended to be more common among the back row. This is fairly similar to what we saw, although we saw many shoulder injuries among the rugby players as well.

Most severe injuries occurred during contact (being tackled rather than tackling). More significant for coaches and medical personnel to take note, usually in the final 20 minutes of a match.

The physical nature of rugby makes contact injuries fairly difficult to prevent although coaches, physios can put in place a number of conditioning (or prehab) measures to help ensure players are properly prepared for the demands of the sport.

Please also see this.


Dallalana RJ, Brooks JH et al (2008). The Epidemiology of Knee Injuries in English Profesional Rugby Union. Am J Sports Med. 35(5) : 818-830.

Quarrie KL and Hopkins WG (2008). Tackle Injuries in Professional Rugby Union. Am J Sports Med. 36(9) : 1705-1716

*Picture by Rich Seow

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Rinse And Spit

Here's an interesting bit of information that may surprise you if you taking part in the OSIM triathlon this weekend. Sure did surprise me. 2 different studies support this.

In the first study, runners were asked to run as hard as they can on a treadmill. Before one run, they rinsed their mouth with a sports drink of 6 % glucose but didn't swallow. Before their second run, they rinsed their mouth with an identical placebo drink with no calories and also didn't swallow the drink. Results? The runners ran faster and felt better when the rinsed their mouths with the sports drink.

In the second study, cyclists made made to do an all out 60mins time trial while a) consuming a placebo drink with no sugars or electrolytes, b) a common sports drink, c) rinsing their mouth with the sports drink but not swallowing any. Here's the funny result. The cyclists performed best while rinsing their mouths with the sports drink but not swallowing. Go figure.

So if you are feeling bloated on the bike or during the run and can't get any fluids down, just rinse and spit out your sports drink. You can still do well.

All the best to our patients taking part this weekend.


Rollo I, Williams C et al (2008). The Influence Of Carbohydrate Mouth Rinse On Self-selected Speeds During A 30-minute Treadmill Run. Int J Sp Nutr Ex Metab. 18(6): 585-600.

Potter A, Bouckert J et al (2008) Mouth Rinse of a Carbohydrate Solution Improves 1hour Cycle Time Trial Performance. Scandinavian J of Med and Science in Sports. Nov 3 Epub.

*Picture from