Common injuries in rugby league – the facts and recovery

One of the most popular winter sports in NSW is Rugby League, with over 36,900 participants every year across all age divisions.

In Rugby League, players accelerate, change direction, tackle, pass, catch and kick the ball during the game. Due to the high impact nature of the sport, it is no surprise that we see injuries occur across the whole body.  

As we’re halfway through the winter season, we thought to share the most common injuries seen in Rugby League players. 

Hamstring Strains  

Hamstring strains are one of the most common injuries seen in Rugby League players that enter our practice. Hamstring strains during play are often a result of sudden bursts of movements, sharp changes of direction and sprinting. According to research, hamstring strains account for 12% of injuries in Rugby League.  

Players can protect their Hamstrings from injury by completing warm-up and cool-down exercises and regularly stretching the Hamstring and surrounding muscles before play.  


As Rugby League is considered a high contact sport, concussions are a growing concern. A concussion is a traumatic brain injury caused by a direct blow, hit or jolt to the head, often caused during collisions and tackles. With concussions accounting for 7% of injuries in the Rugby League, it’s vital that players are kept aware of the codes and protocols of concussions during play.  

Shoulder Dislocations   

The shoulder is one of the most commonly injured joints in Rugby League, the high-speed impact of tackles, falls and collisions are the primary cause of this injury. According to research, 20% of all Rugby League injuries are to the shoulder, with 25% of these being shoulder dislocation. Approximately 25% of shoulder dislocations have associated fractures and ligament tears that increase the chance of surgery and prolong recovery. 

Prevention and Recovery  

At Progressive Sports and Spinal Physiotherapy, our team are passionate about injury prevention and the recovery of Rugby League players across all divisions. In our practice, we have state-of-the-art technology of the Game Ready and Musculoskeletal Injury Screening that allows our team to assess and measure our client’s recovery, as well as identify any potential deficit, which may cause further injury.  

Through this assessment, we’re able can determine a rehabilitation pathway to safely return our clients to their pre-injury status and help them achieve their peak athletic performance this winter season. 

If you or someone you know has been injured while playing Rugby League, contact the Progressive team today. 

Elin, is an alumni of St. Edward’s University and holder of a Bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology, furthered her academic journey by attaining a Doctor of Physiotherapy from Macquarie University in 2022.

Her passion for sports, particularly football (soccer), is evident in both her academic pursuits and personal endeavors. Specialising in the comprehensive well-being of athletes, Elin focuses on restoring them to peak performance while actively preventing future injuries.

Elin’s professional expertise is centered on musculoskeletal rehabilitation, with a specific emphasis on addressing and preventing knee injuries. Her approach integrates expert treatment with a commitment to educating and empowering patients, fostering their active involvement in enhancing their health and overall quality of life.

As an active participant in NPL football with SD Raiders, Elin brings firsthand experience and a profound understanding of the sport’s demands. Beyond the field, she extends her influence by contributing sports coverage over the weekends.

Christopher (Chris) Han graduated from the University of Sydney with a Bachelor’s Degree in Occupational Therapy, and then completed the Doctor of Physiotherapy program at Macquarie University in 2018. Chris is currently undertaking his PhD at the University of Sydney and Institute for Musculoskeletal Health in the field of low back pain and is due to complete this in early 2024. 

Chris is currently an assistant Physiotherapist for the NRL Referees. Chris has previous experience as the head Physiotherapist at Panthers Premier League Netball and a number of elite sporting athletes in the private setting.

Through Chris’ experiences, he has a particular interest in all areas of the body and musculoskeletal physiotherapy, sports, vestibular rehabilitation, and Men’s Health (pre and post prostate surgery).

Suzanne graduated from Western Sydney University with a Bachelor of Health Science (Sports and Exercise Science) in 2015. She then went on to continue her studies at Macquarie University graduating from the Doctor of Physiotherapy post-graduate degree in June 2019.

Since graduating, Suzanne has worked in the local Penrith area in both private practice and Sports Physiotherapy. Suzanne has worked with sporting teams including Penrith District Netball Association, Mt Druitt Rangers (NPL), Penrith Valley Figure Skating Club, and local dance and cheer schools. 

Suzanne has a particular interest in working with artistic athletes including cheerleaders and dancers. She has a professional background in both cheer and dance and has previously worked as both a cheer coach and dance teacher. Suzanne’s previous experiences are an invaluable resource to her as a physiotherapist, as she has a thorough understanding of the level of physical fitness and skill acquisition that these athletes must have in order to be successful on stage and in competition.

Suzanne’s other areas of clinical interest reside in lower limb musculoskeletal injuries, spinal pathologies and women’s health.

Nathanial graduated as a physiotherapist in 2012 which saw him work in private practice and hospital settings gaining experience in all areas of physiotherapy including hand therapy, splinting/casting, pre/post-operative care, Men’s Health and general musculoskeletal, occupational and sports physiotherapy. Since then he has gone on to complete further studies in physiotherapy enabling him to be the only dual titled Musculoskeletal, Sports and Exercise Physiotherapist in Penrith.

Nathanial has a strong background in sports physiotherapy achieving accreditation with NSWIS as a service provider and working with many elite sports teams.

Nathanial has a particular interest in working with elite athletes, complex cases and in particular assessment and management of knee, hip and shoulder pain.

Andrea graduated from the Australian Catholic University completing her Bachelor of Exercise and Sports Science in 2018 and Master’s of Clinical Exercise Physiology in 2020. After graduating she attained accreditation with ESSA as an Exercise Physiologist.

During her studies she gained clinical experience in both hospital and private practice settings, in cardiac rehabilitation, neurological conditions, cancer and chronic musculoskeletal injuries.

Since working at Progressive, Andrea has a specialist interest in treating musculoskeletal injuries, helping people in the mid-late stage of rehab to get them to return to sport or work. As well as helping people manage chronic conditions such as arthritis, osteoporosis and diabetes.