Injury frequency and body composition of elite Romanian rugby players

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Background: The physical exertion in the game of rugby is intense and depends on the playing position. This study hypothesized that peculiarities of body composition are important and should be properly interpreted in order to improve fitness and particularly in order to reduce the risk of injuries. Purpose: The aim of the present paper is to highlight the importance of body composition evaluation and to underline the usefulness of the data thus obtained for both training individualization and sports injuries risk reduction. Material and Methods: Thirty seven senior male rugby players from the former Romanian national team were assessed on body composition using a segmental multi-frequency bio-impedance analyzer InBody 720 (The Body Composition Analyzer – South Korea). We compared the results from both the preseason and the regular season 2012 with the international norms for elite players and we categorized the data by playing positions. Results: We have analyzed the amount of lean mass on each limb (kg), body water content (l), percentage of body fat, bone mineral and protein content (kg). We observed that the number of injuries is directly correlated to high levels of body fat percentage, low lean mass, and edema scores. Conclusions: The risk of injury can be identified among elite rugby players not only by using fitness tests, but also by using a simple and objective test of body composition. These results show how important it is to monitor the level of body fat, lean muscle mass and muscular development in order to modify nutrition and food habits, individualize trainings and thus reduce the number of injuries.

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