T Nation

Concussions from Rugby


Not usually in the combat forum but thought you guys would be the best placed to give advice on this.

I play a bit of Rugby when i get the time. However, I have a problem in that I seem to get concussed very readily - 4 times in the past 2 years. I can't remember any of the events, but from what I am aware they have been either a knee to the head or in one case kicked.

Are there any ways I cant help protect myself against concussion? (other than wear not playing etc.)

Thanks for any help you may have!


Yikes, 4 times is a LOT, especially if they're bad enough that you can't remember. I know you don't wear helmets in rugby, but I wonder if there's some kind of special head protection available that would be allowable on the pitch? I used to date a rugby player & remember a few guys here & there would wear various protective things on their heads - though that may have been more to protect from cauliflower ear.

Concussions have been in the news a great deal around here lately, because American footballers suffer them frequently due to a particular type of tackling that's used, and also because of soldiers returning with head injuries from the Middle East. Try nfl.com or lonesurvivorfoundation.org. The Lone Survivor Foundation serves soldiers, but I bet they'd point you in the right direction.

Here's a link to a radio show's list of concussion reports:

You should definitely be wearing a mouthpiece & biting down hard on it during play.

If you get concussed, you should absolutely be done for the day. Not a toe on the pitch afterward.

Good luck!


Wow- Thanks for such an in depth answer!

I will definitely check out all of those links now.

I am aware that when I am running I usually do with my mouth open lol like a dog! I know this from photos and people have said, I don't conciously do that.


The more concussions you have, the increased chances you have of getting another one. How far apart were the 4 concussions?

MissParker gave some good info for you. The fact that you lose consciousness and don't know what happened definitely shows signs of a significant concussion. You really should be evaluated after each concussion and then put through tests to confirm that you are ready to return to play. The risks for second impact syndrome also increase after each concussion is received and especially if the person returns too quickly.

For things that you can do - I have seen some padded headwear, but I know that many scoff at them due to them being for "wussies". Another thing is starting to take creatine daily. No need for excessive amounts, just the 5g per day will do well. There are some preliminary studies that have shown creatine having a great benefit to brain activity and recovery and some are hypothesizing that it may help brain recovery after traumatic injury. I do not believe there has been any concrete research evidence to prove it (though I have gone through the literature recently), but in the end it is definitely NOT going to hurt you (unless you have some underlying medical condition) to take the 5g creatine daily, as long as you take a high quality brand that doesn't have tons of fillers in it.

From the sounds of the mechanism of your injury, it doesn't seem to be a technical issue, but it might be worth just doubt checking to make sure you aren't lowering the head too much. Also, I second the mouthguard suggestion.


first thing, i would go get a ct scan if you havent had one just to make sure your not in serious danger, and get a scrum cap, i know its not very thick padding, but it can only help


x2 to LH's post, a scrum cap and mouthguard are helpful. Also- stop leading with your head. Getting kicked is a freak occurrence, and it happens on the pitch, but I've seen far more players get concussed because of poor tackling form than from getting kicked. See what you're hitting, cheek to cheek, deliver the hit with your shoulder, etc.




So, really appreciate the advice from you all. I actually just got another and so have decided to pack it in.

Very interesting stuff about the creatine. I take it regularly as part of my training anyway.

Unfortunately, Scrum Caps that a few people have pointed to are really not designed to prevent concussion. They really do little in terms of an outright blow. They protect you from cauliflower ear and cuts in the majority.

We have analysed the incidents after the games in our video sessions and we have found no technique issues. I guess I am just either unlucky or particularly susceptible, if that is possible?


I'm not sure if you're full bottle on southern hemisphere rugby but there's been a couple of cases that are woth noting-

Elton Flatley- former wallaby who had to chuck in the towel because he was losing his sight from the head clashes

Berrick Barnes - missed most of last S15 season with footballer's migraine.

These two blokes are 5/8's as well! So if you're playing 1-8 please be very careful with yourself mate.