Taking up any new contact sport as an adult can be dangerous. If you are over thirty, your body is simply less able to learn new physical skills than it was when you were younger. Rugby, in particular, is a competitive, aggressive contact sport in which injuries are common. If you’re beginning to play the game as an adult, you should take special care to avoid getting hurt.
Perhaps, most importantly, you should first make a wise choice of club. The more experienced the other players are, the lower the chance that they will accidentally injure you during practice or scrimmage. In addition, you should be sure that you will have adequate opportunities to practice all of the positions that you may be called upon to play. It is common for players to be injured when stepping into a position in which they have not had sufficient practice, and therefore do not know how to play well. Proper technique in rucking, scrumming, and tackling will prevent most injuries.
You should also consider the norms of play in your league. Can you expect to receive a slew of dirty hits while hidden from the referees by the crowd of bodies? Foul play like this is perhaps the most common source of rugby injuries.
Take careful stock of your fitness level, especially compared to others in the club. If you lead a sedentary lifestyle, take the time to get fit in other ways before putting yourself in a situation where fatigue will render you vulnerable to injury. It’s critical that your ability be consistent with the level of play in those around you.
While rugby players do not wear helmets, pads, and other protective gear common in American football, take advantage of what protection is available. In particular, protective ankle braces can go a long way towards eliminating injury in that area. You may find your movement somewhat restricted, but that’s a small price to pay to avoid being laid up for a month or more with a strained ankle. If at all possible, you should also make use of a properly fitted mouth guard to avoid broken teeth.
If you do become injured, take the time to regain endurance, strength, and flexibility before returning to play. You must expect that your body will take longer to heal than it did when you were younger, and pushing yourself to play when you are not fully healed is a sure path to re-injury.
It’s certainly possible to take up rugby at an older age, and the game can be quite enjoyable and rewarding. Just use common sense, and remember that you’re not twenty any more.