Head injuries - Rugby Injuries

Head injuries are usually caused by direct contact with other players or falling onto the ground in rugby. Head injuries may also be caused by scrummaging.

Types of head injury

Head injuries are usually classified as external or internal; external injuries usually affect the face and scalp, while internal injuries affect the tissue and vessels inside the skull and the brain. The most common head injuries in rugby include concussion and superficial cuts and bruises.


What is concussion?

Concussion is a condition which causes damage to the brain; it is usually brought about by a direct blow to the head or a fall.

Symptoms of concussion

Common symptoms include dizziness, confusion, nausea, headaches, blurred vision, a lack of balance and loss of memory; these symptoms usually appear shortly after the incident. Symptoms that may appear some time after an accident (up to 3 weeks later) may include dizziness, forgetfulness, prolonged headaches, mood swings and blurred vision.

Treatment for concussion

Mild concussion is usually treated with pain relief and rest; more serious cases may require hospital treatment as the patient will need to be observed and monitored. Occasionally, concussion may cause a player to lose consciousness; this will usually require emergency medical treatment and a subsequent long period of rest to aid recovery.

Serious head injuries

Although serious head injuries are fairly uncommon, they do occur in rugby.

Effects of serious head injuries

Serious head injuries will usually cause a player to lose consciousness; if this is the case emergency medical help should be sought. The head should be supported while resuscitation takes place and the player should be admitted to hospital as quickly as possible. Once a player’s condition has been stabilised, they will be monitored closely for a period of time. Once the player has been discharged, they should take care to rest; pain relief may also be prescribed.

Symptoms of major head injuries

Symptoms of head injuries include a loss of consciousness, confusion, nausea and dizziness; there may also be bleeding or a secretion of liquid from the ear.

Treatment for serious head injuries

Treatment may include surgery in serious cases; this may be required to remove blood clots and restore damaged tissue. Other treatments will usually include pain relief and plenty of rest.

Preventing head injuries

Many professional players wear head guards to protect their head and ears; this is particularly common amongst players involved in the scrum.

Rugby injuries Treatment Guide Index:

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