Are rugby athletes prone to ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) tears?

Any athlete that participates in a sport involving multiple changes in direction with deceleration and acceleration is at risk for an ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) tear.  Most ACL injuries occur while an athlete is decelerating and rotating, and with the amount of decelerating and rotating rugby player does, the risk factor is definitely higher.  For this reason it is imperative all rugby players take part in a performance training program that caters to proper conditioning for these demands.  Be sure to work on your ability to decelerate.  One drill that can help you do this is a box jump-down with stabilization.  Stand on top of a box or platform, keeping your feet straight and your knees in line with the toes. Hop off the box and land softly on the ground, hold the landing for 3 seconds. Ensure you are landing softly and quietly, absorbing the impact by bending your hips and knees. Remember to land with each knee over your second and third toes.  If you have difficulty with this it is wise to seek specialized help from your coach and trainers.  They can create a specialized program to fit your individual needs. Also, when beginning agility training, begin by focusing on decelerating before quickly changing direction.  When completing any agility drill, come to a stable stop for 2 seconds before re-accelerating.  Learning how to properly decelerate will help maintain healthy knees.

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