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Sports physiotherapy and NRL season

NRL is an extremely physically demanding sport, and depending on who you follow, it might be emotionally demanding to watch. While we can’t help your NRL team reach the finals, our sports physiotherapy will help you avoid and treat common NRL injuries.

Playing NRL is hard on the body; you’re tackling, passing and sprinting, often all at once, for extended periods. You also come into regular and rough contact with other players. Combine this with the running required during a game – up to eight kilometres – and your injury risk skyrockets. 

There are things you can do to help prepare for your games, and if you do get injured, our physiotherapists will help get you back out there. 

What are the most common NRL injuries?

Studies show that over half of all NRL injuries occur in the lower parts of the body – your ankles, hamstrings and knees. 

The physicality of NRL – the tackling, diving, and falling over – means that head injuries are also common. These can vary from cuts and bruises to facial fractures. 

If you find yourself injured after a game, we have physiotherapists who have substantial experience working with sports and spinal injuries.

Some other common NRL injuries include:

  • Ankle sprains 
  • Hamstring tears 
  • Jumper’s knee
  • Dislocated shoulders 
  • Shin splints

How can I prevent common NRL injuries? 


Training is essential for performing well on the field. It goes without saying that you should train with your specific sport in mind, but to avoid injury, you also need to be cross-training.  

Cross-training means doing activities not specifically related to your focus sport, working muscles you don’t normally work on, and giving your other muscles a chance to recover. You’ll get fitter overall, and most importantly, reduce your risk of seeing a physiotherapist. 

To help avoid some of the most common NRL injuries, like ankle injuries, work on your balance and strength through cross-training exercises. This could be doing yoga or specific strength-based exercises that will support your stability on the field. A session with our physiotherapist is also a great way to ensure you train well. 

Warm up and down 

Hamstring tears are one of the most common NRL injuries. They usually happen when you move suddenly, when you’re changing direction, or when you go from a jog to a sprint. 

To help mitigate the risk of hamstring (and other) injuries, it’s essential to warm up and warm down before and after a game and prepare your muscles and tendons for the physical demands of an NRL game. Our physiotherapists can provide a warm-up and down program that supports your training. 

Wear protective gear

You’ll see most professional NRL players wearing protective gear, and there’s a good reason – adding a layer of protection is a no-brainer when avoiding injury. Here’s some ways to protect yourself: 

  • Headgear: absorbs shock and prevents head injuries.
  • Mouthguards: these protect against broken teeth or jaw fractures. 
  • Shin guards: your shin bone is very exposed, and wearing shin guards adds an extra layer of protection. 

You might also notice some players wearing body braces or tape. Taping and bracing are good ways to protect previously injured areas. Our physiotherapists will show you how to tape up previous injuries. 

Tackling technique 

In the average professional game, there’s an average of 590 tackles – so tackling correctly is essential for winning a game of rugby.

An incorrectly executed tackle not only leads to loss of possession or a game, but it can also lead to injury and is one of the leading causes of injury for NRL players. 

Keep fit, but also rest 

Balance is key with most things, and overdoing it with either training or games will lead to muscle fatigue, ultimately leading to injury. Work with our physiotherapist to balance your training schedule with rest days and cross-training. 

Practice makes perfect, and it also helps to avoid injury. Before you get out on the field, ensure you’ve done enough training and that the training you’re doing mimics a real-game scenario. During an NRL game, there are high-intensity moments and short breaks. It would be best if you also had upper body strength. Work with a coach or a physiotherapist to balance aerobic, strength and cross-training exercises.

How sports physiotherapy can help with injury recovery

Physiotherapists who have substantial experience working in sports injuries can help you get the most out of your chosen sport. 

Sports injury physiotherapy can help with:

  • You are creating preventative exercise programs that will mitigate the risk of injury, for example, providing you with cross-training exercises to support your NRL-specific training.
  • They are working with you to strengthen previous injuries so they do not become reoccurring issues. 
  • Creating targeted rehabilitation plans to help you manage and recover from an injury.

Whether you want to improve your sports performance or recover from an injury, our physiotherapists will help you return to the field and perform at your best. Please make an appointment to see how we can help you today. 

*All information is general in nature and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Physionorth can consult with you to confirm if this advice is right for you.

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