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Physio-designed fitness programme cuts injuries at touch rugby world cup

14 May 2015 - 12:18pm

A fitness programme that was designed by physios for the England touch rugby players who competed at the 2015 world cup in Australia proved to be a success.

Physio-designed fitness programme cuts injuries at touch rugby world cup 1

Head of medical services Cari Thorpe

Cari Thorpe, the physio who acted as the squad’s head of medical services at the event, which ended on 3 May, said fewer injuries were reported as a result.

Ms Thorpe is a physiotherapy lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University. She introduced the programme following concerns about the number of non-contact injuries during the last world cup, held in Edinburgh in 2011.

‘When I went to my first world cup I thought there would be very few injuries because it is a non-contact sport,’ Ms Thorpe said.

‘But it was a much harder sport than I imagined, and we spent the next four years identifying why players were getting injuries.’

File 152309The England medical team

Touch rugby is unusual because players run backwards for significant periods when they are defending. They also have to bend down repeatedly for restarts, resulting in hamstring problems.

Ms Thorpe and the other two squad physios who travelled to Australia developed a fitness programme to prevent these and other injuries. The programme bore fruit at the six-day event, held in Coffs Harbour, New South Wales.

‘We had a number of collision injuries, but no other injuries that kept players out of games,’ she said.

The English squad fielded seven teams and 112 players. Pitchside support was provided by three Australian physios.

Three English teams came third in their category at the tournament.

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