PREVENTION IS THE BEST CURE

Player Profiling is the process of assessing players to make sure:

  • They have sufficient technical skill and ability for the grade at which they are playing.
  • They are physically conditioned to meet the demands of the sport.
  • They are not predisposed to serious injuries.

Player Profiling gives a coach biographical details on a player (contact details, injuries, allergies, medical conditions, history of injury and recovery and performance statistics) that can be used as a base for comparison later in the season, particularly when injuries occur or are suspected.

Playing rugby means preparing well before the rugby season starts. Before pre-season training, every player should have his or her health and physical condition assessed. Some of the key factors to look for when screening are:

  • First-time players.
  • Players with any pre-existing injuries.
  • Players with a history of concussions.
  • Older front row players – they could need an x-ray to check that they have no degenerative conditions.
  • Front row forwards who have had a neck injury in the past.

The following are suggestions as to what you can screen your players for. Use a diary or download a form so that you can record this information for future use.

  1. Draw up a health questionnaire:
    • Ask players to list their known medical conditions and how severe they are (for example, they may have severe asthma or mild epilepsy.
    • Ask players to list their previous injuries, the treatment they received and who they got the treatment from.
  2. Do a physical assessment:
    • A physical assessment by a sports trainer or physiotherapist can identify things that may put players at greater risk of injury.
    • The assessment should test for strength, flexibility, balance, speed, aerobic and anaerobic endurance and anatomical and biomechanical abnormalities.
  3. Always do follow-up Player Profiling:
    • Do two or three assessments a year – especially of the physical assessment. Then you can measure improvement and training effectiveness.