As the sports trainer for the Lane Cove Rugby Club this year, I have definitely seen my fair share of injuries. They range from the minor cuts and bruises all the way to dislocations and concussions.
I must confess this season has been a huge learning curve as a student physio. As a student and having limited experience with actual injuries, being on the sideline and having to treat actual injuries was amazing experience. I have definitely gained enough skills and experience to confidently treat any acute injuries without hesitation. You don’t realize how physical rugby can be, even at park level, until you watch these guys tackle and make breaks week after week (yes I can hear some of your eyes rolling back screaming duh! But honestly, it was definitely eye opener).
This season, I think I’ve seen every injury imaginable. Let me see if I can list them:
Ankle fractures, finger dislocations, rib cartilage contusion, bicep tendonitis, rotator cuff tears, ACL injuries, gastroc tears, wrist fractures, groin tears, concussions, head cuts requiring multiple stitches and the list can go on!
On my first day back in march, I treated an ankle sprain, a few finger injuries and wait for it… a posterior shoulder dislocation requiring a visit to the emergency room! Yes… on my very first day I had to send someone to the emergency room *insert dramatic music*. He was involved in a scrum and stayed down. Running onto the field, I was a ball of anxiety on the inside but calmed on the outside. I quickly asked him what happened, where he was feeling the pain and whether or not he could get off the field without assistance. On the sideline, I quickly performed an assessment and quickly noticed the obvious deformity. He started complaining of queasiness and had to lie down. Adding 2 and 2 together, I had to strap him up in ice and one of the boys rushed him to the emergency department. All is well with him now though, after being in a sling and a few months of rehab with the Action Plus physio team, he’s back on the field playing a major role!
At this point, I’d like to point out that a certain physio during his pep talk in preparing me for this position, specifically stated that “O it’ll be a great gig, a few minor injuries. Nothing stressful at all, so don’t worry” – thanks Andy, at least I was ignorantly confident from the start! Haha
Other memorable injuries during the season, would be the grade 2 concussion a player suffered during a head knock. As a student physio, I have had experience with traumatic brain injuries, but I would see them abit further down the track, when they’re more stable and ready for rehab. But I have never seen a head injury that acute. At that moment I was so glad I sat a refresher first aid course before I started, to brush up on my first aid skills. (Note to people reading this, the course might take a day but completely worth it in case of emergency! – “Prepare for the unexpected”)
Back to the story, the player was so confused; he was unable to correctly identify where he was and what he was currently doing on the park… I was very grateful that one of the spectators was a registered nurse. After assessing him, the ambulance was called immediately to take him to hospital for scans. Thankfully, all the tests came back normal and he was able to return after a few weeks on the sideline as a precaution.
This year, has taught me a lot about acute injuries. From differentiating muscle injuries to fractures, and whether its safe for the player to return to the game after an injury. Another skill I was able to develop, was negotiating and being assertive. If I had a dollar for each time I had to convince an injured player to not get back on the park or to seek medical attention ASAP after an injury, I would definitely be on par with Gina Rinehart. These are some extremely tough guys and even in their injured state, their pain can never stop them from wanting to get back onto the field or even cracking open another beer at the end of the match (much to my objections of course!).
The Covies played with heart all season, regardless of the ever growing injury list and I wish all the boys the best of luck for next season and hope they know that the Action Plus physio team will always be there to support them.