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Introduction Reasons for Injury in Rugby League Studies of injury in rugby league football have previously reported rates of injury higher than for many other team sports Gissane et al 1998 This may be due to the fact that rugby league is a contact sport in which athletes experience a large number of high speed body collisions which along with the effects of varying field conditions makes it a very physically demanding sport Although the use of protective equipment such as shoulder pads head guards and gum shields helps to reduce the effects of substantial impacts they by no means totally eradicate them and indeed injuries to even the most protected areas of the body frequently occur The likelihood that a rugby player may get injured is to a certain extent dictated by his position on the field of play During a game of rugby league there are three front row forwards three back row forwards two inside backs and five outside backs The six forwards are involved mostly in the middle of the ruck area where the play restarts for each tackle in the set of six Gibbs 1993 Therefore they are more physically involved both during attack and defence than the backs who are positioned outside of the forwards for the majority of the game This would suggest that the forwards would endure more injuries than backs which has been previously reported Gibbs 1993 However Alexander et al 1980 cited in Gissane et al 1998 found more injuries to the backs when the style of play changed to move the ball wider sooner giving the backs a greater role in the game the style used in response to the change to summer rugby Previous research has shown that the ball carrier is the person who is most likely to receive an injury Gissane et al 1997 cited in Gissane et al 1998 Therefore increasing the amount of time
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