Rugby Union is a popular sport both internationally and nationally. The sport has seen a rise in high-intensity activity and is more physically demanding on players since turning professional in 1995. Over the past decade, professional rugby players have made frequent appearances in the media due to lapses in psychological, physical, and social wellbeing, suggesting professional rugby players may experience compromised health. Research has largely ignored rugby players' health when health is defined beyond injury. The present study aimed to provide insight into the health of professional rugby players by investigating two components of health, namely psychological and physical wellbeing and the relationship between these facets. Two hundred and thirty-eight (238) professional male rugby union players, situated at the Investec Rugby Academy participated in the study. Psychological wellbeing (PW) was measured by the State Trait Personality Inventory (form Y) (STPI-Y) and the Sport Competitive Anxiety Test (adult form) (SCAT-A). Physical wellbeing was defined as health-related physical fitness (HRPF). HRPF was assessed by measurements of the rugby players' body composition, physical fitness, and heart health. Pearson's correlation co-efficient was calculated between the variables used to measure HRPF and PW. The results showed the rugby players experience average levels of competitive anxiety, above average levels of anger, anxiety, and depression and a relatively high level of curiosity. The rugby players had a high level of HRPF, with the exception of body composition (particularly BMI), cardiovascular endurance, muscle strength and endurance, and heart health (when measured according to the CSI), which indicate a moderate risk to the players' health. Furthermore, the results show significant correlations between variables of HRPF and PW in the rugby players. The findings that indicate professional rugby players do not experience optimal PW and HRPF, as well as the significant correlations found between the variables of the rugby players PW and HRPF, suggest these players may be in a state of overtraining or experiencing overtraining syndrome.
Mini Dissertation (MA)--University of Pretoria, 2017.