Bok wing Akona Ndungane has been sent home and will soon be receiving medical treatment in Cape Town after bruising his chest muscles, according to the South African Rugby Union (SARU).
Is this type of injury serious and is it common among rugby players? Health24 investigated:
Chest injuries not so common
According to SARU’s medical manager, Dr Ismail Jakoet, chest injuries aren't one of the more common injuries in rugby players. “A chest injury usually comes about from a high-impact tackle, i.e. the player has either been tackling or has been tackled,” he says.
He notes that, as with most rugby injuries which are not too serious, the RICE treatment is generally used. This stands for rest (R), ice (I), compression (C) and elevation (E), and is an immediate treatment used to reduce swelling and inflammation.
“In the case of a chest injury, elevation is not really possible, but the ice and rest are the most important treatments to perform immediately after such an injury,” Jakoet says.
Treatment of injury
The follow-up treatment depends on the severity of the injury. Jakoet claims that if there's bruising, further treatment is seldom required, although sometimes the player is sent to the physiotherapist where an ultrasound is carried out.
“There's also a new treatment used by some professionals called hyperbaric oxygen therapy, which means the player gets put into an oxygen chamber which speeds up the healing process,” he says.
If the injury is more severe, such as fractured ribs, Jakoet says that the player would be strapped up and given painkillers.
“But no matter what the injury to the chest is, the key to a full and speedy recovery is rest."
- (Amy Henderson, Health24.com, August 2007)
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