Concussions in Community-Level Rugby: Risk, Knowledge, and Attitudes.
ABSTRACT: Rugby is a popular collision sport where participants are at risk of sustaining concussions. Most research focuses on elite-level or youth divisions. Comparatively, little is known about adult community rugby. The aim of this research was to estimate the risk of sustaining a concussion during participation in community-level rugby and summarize the collective knowledge and attitudes toward concussions.Concussion symptoms will be reported frequently among community-level rugby players and a substantial proportion will report a willingness to continue participation despite the risk.Cross-sectional analysis.Level 3.An anonymous, voluntary survey was administered to all 464 senior rugby players registered in the province of Manitoba in 2015. Two primary domains were assessed: (1) concussion history from the preceding season including occurrence, symptomatology, and impact on daily activities and (2) knowledge and attitudes toward concussion risks and management.In total, 284 (61.2%) rugby players responded. Concussive symptoms were reported by 106 (37.3%). Of those, 87% were formally diagnosed with a concussion and 27% missed school and/or work as a result. The danger of playing while symptomatic was recognized by 93.7% of participants, yet 29% indicated they would continue while symptomatic. Furthermore, 39% felt they were letting others down if they stopped playing due to a concussion.Concussive symptoms were common among the study cohort and had a notable impact on daily activities. A high proportion of players were willing to continue while experiencing symptoms despite recognizing the danger. The observed discord between knowledge and attitudes implicates a culture of "playing injured."Understanding the risk of injury may affect an individual's decision to participate in community-level rugby. Moreover, evidence of discord between the knowledge and attitudes of players may direct future research initiatives and league governance.
Project description:OBJECTIVES:This study assessed whether concussion affects subsequent baseline performance in professional rugby players. Annual baseline screening tests are used to guide return-to-play decisions and concussion diagnosis during subsequent screens. It is important that baseline performances are appropriate and valid for the duration of a season and unaffected by factors unrelated to the current head impact event. One such factor may be a concussion following baseline assessment. SETTING:The World Rugby concussion management database for global professional Rugby Union. PARTICIPANTS:501 professional rugby players with two baseline Sports Concussion Assessment Tools (SCATs) and an intervening concussion (CONC) were compared with 1190 control players with successive annual SCAT5s and no diagnosed concussion (CONT). PRIMARY AND SECONDARY OUTCOME MEASURES:Symptom endorsement, cognitive and balance performance during annual SCAT baseline assessments. RESULTS:Players with a diagnosed concussion (CONC) endorsed fewer symptoms (change -0.42, 95%?CI -0.75 to -0.09), and reported lower symptom severity scores during their second assessment (T2, p<0.001) than non-concussed players (CONT). Concussed players also improved Digits Backward and Final Concentration scores in T2 (p<0.001). Tandem gait time was improved during T2 in CONT. No other sub-mode differences were observed in either group. CONCLUSIONS:Reduced symptom endorsement and improved cognitive performance after concussion may be the result of differences in the motivation of previously concussed players to avoid exclusion from play, leading to under-reporting of symptoms and greater effort in cognitive tests. Improved cognitive performance may be the result of familiarity with the tests as a result of greater exposure to concussion screening. The changes are small and unlikely to have clinical significance in most cases, though clinicians should be mindful of possible reasons, possibly repeating sub-modes and investigating players whose baseline scores change significantly after concussion. The findings do not necessitate a change in the sport's concussion management policy.
Project description:Collision sports, such as Rugby Union (“Rugby”) have a particularly high risk of injury. Of all injuries common to collision sports, concussions have received the most attention due to the potentially negative cognitive effects in the short- and long-term. Despite non-professional Rugby players comprising the majority of the world’s playing population, there is relatively little research in this population. Stellenbosch Rugby Football Club (“Maties”), the official rugby club of Stellenbosch University, represents one of the world’s largest non-professional Rugby clubs, making this an ideal cohort for community-level injury surveillance. The aim of this study was to describe the incidence and events associated with concussion in this cohort. Baseline demographics were obtained on the 807 male student Rugby non-professional players who registered for the 10-week long 2018 season, which comprised 101 matches and 2,915 of exposure hours. All match-related injuries were captured by the medical staff of Stellenbosch Campus Health Service on an electronic form developed from the consensus statement for injury recording in Rugby. The mean age, height and weight of this cohort were 20 ± 2 years, 182 ± 7 cm and 88 ± 14 kg, respectively. Overall, there were 89 time-loss injuries, which equated to an injury rate of 30.6 per 1,000 match hours [95% confidence intervals (CIs): 24.2–36.9], or about one injury per match. The most common injury diagnosis was “concussion” (n = 27 out of 90 injuries, 30%), at a rate of 9.3 per 1,000 match hours (95% CIs: 5.8–12.8). The three most common mechanisms of concussion in the present study were performing a tackle (33%), accidental collision (30%) and being tackled (11%). Concussion was the most common injury in this population, at a rate that was six times higher than the most comparable study from the UK, which had far more exposure time over six seasons and wider range of player ability, from recreational to semi-professional. This might be explained by the training and vigilance of the club’s first aiders observing all matches for concussion. Future studies should try to explain this high rate and subsequently reduce these concussions. The addition of video surveillance data would assist in identifying the etiology of these concussions injuries in order to develop specific targeted interventions.
Project description:INTRODUCTION:Relatively little is known about the long-term health of former elite rugby players, or former sportspeople more generally. As well as the potential benefits of being former elite sportspersons, there may be potential health risks from exposures occurring during an individual's playing career, as well as following retirement. Each contact sport has vastly different playing dynamics, therefore exposing its players to different types of potential traumas. Current evidence suggests that these are not necessarily comparable in terms of pathophysiology, and their potential long-term adverse effects might also differ. There is currently limited but increasing evidence that poorer age-related and neurological health exists among former professional sportsmen exposed to repetitive concussions; however the evidence is limited on rugby union players, specifically. METHODS AND ANALYSIS:We present the protocol for a cross-sectional study to assess the association between self-reported history of concussion during a playing career, and subsequent measures of healthy ageing and neurological and cognitive impairment. We are recruiting a sample of approximately 200 retired rugby players (former Oxford and Cambridge University rugby players and members of the England Rugby International Club) aged 50 years or more, and collecting a number of general and neurological health-related outcome measures though validated assessments. Biomarkers of neurodegeneration (neurofilaments and tau) will be also be measured. Although the study is focusing on rugby union players specifically, the general study design and the methods for assessing neurological health are likely to be relevant to other studies of former elite sportspersons. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION:The study has been approved by the Ethical Committee of London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (reference: 11634-2). It is intended that results of this study will be published in peer-reviewed medical journals, communicated to participants, the general public and all relevant stakeholders.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Gaelic games are some of the most popular sports played by Irish adolescents, and the Gaelic Athletic Association has undertaken educational initiatives to improve awareness of a sports-related concussion (SRC). However, SRC underreporting is common among adolescent athletes internationally, potentially due to poor knowledge or attitudes toward SRC. This study aimed to examine previous experiences with, knowledge of, and attitudes toward reporting SRCs, as well as views on future education in adolescent Gaelic games players and their parents. HYPOTHESES:The hypotheses were as follows: (1) A significant number of adolescent Gaelic games players will have experienced an SRC, (2) nondisclosure of SRCs will be common, and (3) adolescents will display poorer attitudes toward reporting than parents. STUDY DESIGN:Cross-sectional study. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE:Level 3. METHODS:Adolescent male and female Gaelic games players (n = 113) and parents (n = 151) completed an anonymous questionnaire examining previous experiences with, knowledge of, and attitudes toward reporting SRCs, as well as views on future SRC education initiatives. RESULTS:Overall, 57.5% of adolescent Gaelic games players suspected they had suffered an SRC previously, and a greater number of suspected SRCs were reported than were medically diagnosed. Adolescent players (mean score, 11.4/14) and their parents (mean score, 11.8) displayed good knowledge of SRC signs and symptoms. However, adolescents were less likely to report an SRC during an important game or if an important game was coming up. Both adolescents and their parents would like more SRC education, particularly in the format of online videos or medical professional-led workshops. CONCLUSION:Underreporting of SRC occurs in adolescent players, despite good knowledge of SRC signs and symptoms. Education is required to highlight the importance of completing a return-to-play program after an SRC regardless of match importance. CLINICAL RELEVANCE:A multifaceted educational strategy that targets the wider Gaelic games community in the preferred formats identified by key stakeholders is required.
Project description:<h4>Introduction</h4>Rugby football (Union and League) provides physical activity (PA) with related physical and mental health benefits. However, as a collision sport, rugby research and media coverage predominantly focus on injuries in elite players while the overall impact on health and well-being remains unclear. This study aims to provide a greater understanding of the risks and benefits of rugby participation in a diverse sample of men and women, current and former rugby Union and League players from recreational to the elite level of play. We will explore: (1) joint-specific injuries and concussion; (2) joint pain and osteoarthritis (OA); (3) medical and mental health conditions; (4) PA and sedentary behaviour and (5) well-being (quality of life, flourishing and resilience).<h4>Methods and analysis</h4>The Rugby Health and Well-being Study is designed in two phases: (1) a UK-wide cross-sectional survey and (2) cross-validation using health register data from Scotland. Participants will be at least 16 years old, current or former rugby players who have played rugby for at least one season. We will report standardised, level of play-, sex- and age-stratified prevalence of joint injury, concussion, medical conditions and PA. We will describe injury/concussion prevention expectations and protective equipment use. Rugby-related factors associated with injury, pain, OA, PA, health and well-being will be explored in regression models. We will compare joint pain intensity and duration, elements of pain perception and well-being between recreational and elite players and further investigate these associations in regression models while controlling for confounding variables. In the second phase, we will validate self-reported with health register data, and provide further information on healthcare use.<h4>Ethics and dissemination</h4>The Yorkshire and the Humber-Leeds East Research Ethics Committee (REC reference: 19/HY/0377) has approved this study (IRAS project ID 269424). The results will be disseminated through scientific publications, conferences and social media.
Project description:<h4>Introduction</h4>The diagnosis of mild traumatic brain injury or sports-related concussion is a challenge for all clinicians, players, coaches and parents involved in contact sports. Currently, there is no validated objective biomarker available to assess the presence or severity of concussion in sport, and so it is necessary to rely on subjective measures like self-reporting of symptoms which depend on the cooperation of the athlete. There is a significant health risk associated with repetitive injury if the diagnosis is missed, and so there is great value in an objective biomarker to assist diagnostic and prognostic decisions.<h4>Objective</h4>To establish a panel of non-invasive MicroRNA biomarkers in urine and saliva for the rapid diagnosis of sports-related concussion and investigate the kinetics and clinical utility of these biomarkers in assisting diagnostic, prognostic and return-to-play decisions.<h4>Methods and analysis</h4>Observational, prospective, multicentre cohort study recruiting between the 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 Rugby Union seasons. Professional rugby players in the two highest tiers of senior professional domestic rugby competition in England will be recruited prospectively to the study. During the season, three groups will be identified: athletes entering the World Rugby Head Injury Assessment (HIA) protocol, uninjured control athletes and control athletes with musculoskeletal injuries. Saliva and urine will be collected from these athletes at multiple timepoints, coinciding with key times in the HIA protocol and return-to-play process.<h4>Ethics and dissemination</h4>Ethics approval has been obtained. The compiled and analysed results will be presented at national and international conferences concerning the care of patients with traumatic brain injury. Results will also be submitted for peer review and publication in the subject journals/literature.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:Although schoolboy rugby is growing in popularity and played at different competitive levels in Zimbabwe, the influence of playing standard on qualities or skills of older male adolescent rugby players is unknown. Utilising a cross-sectional design, this study determined anthropometric, physiological characteristics and rugby-specific game skills defining elite under 19 (U19) schoolboy rugby players. Following development and subsequent assessment of test-retest reliability of School Clinical Rugby Measure (SCRuM) test battery, this study compared performance outcomes of elite rugby players (n?=?41), sub-elite rugby players (n?=?46) and non-rugby athletes (n?=?26) to identify qualities or skills discriminating (i) elite from sub-elite and non-rugby players, and concomitantly (ii) sub-elite from non-rugby players. RESULTS:40 m speed test (p?<?0.001, ES?=?1.78) and 2 kg Medicine Ball Chest Throw test (p?<?0.001, ES?=?1.69) significantly discriminated elite U19 from sub-elite and non-rugby players. These tests further differentiated sub-elite from non-rugby athletes. Additionally, 1RM back squat (p?=?0.009, ES?=?0.57), 1RM bench press (p?=?0.005, ES?=?0.61), repeated high-intensity exercise test (p?<?0.001, ES?=?0.88) and passing ability test (p?<?0.001, ES?=?0.99) discriminated elite from sub-elite counterparts. These findings highlight important attributes linked to elite U19 schoolboy rugby in Zimbabwe. However, no significant differences were observed for sum of seven skinfold (p?=?0.28), tackling (p?=?0.08) and catching ability (p?=?0.05).
Project description:Background:Rugby is increasingly gaining popularity among school-aged male junior players in countries hardly known for dominating international rugby, such as Zimbabwe. Given rugby combativeness, participating adolescents should possess qualities or skills commensurate with the physical demands of the sport for effective participation. This study investigated the independent and interactive effects of age category and playing standard on anthropometric, physiological characteristics and rugby-specific game skills among Zimbabwean athletes. Methods:Two hundred and eight elite, sub-elite and non-rugby players competing at Under 16 and Under 19 age categories were assessed using the School Clinical Rugby Measure (SCRuM) test battery. Participants underwent height, sitting height, mass, skinfolds, speed, agility, upper-and-lower muscular strength and power, prolonged high-intensity intermittent running ability, tackling, passing and catching assessments in a cross-sectional experimental design. Results:Age categories had significant main effect on all SCRuM test items except sum of seven skinfolds (p?=?0.45, ?2p?=?0.003). Playing standard had significant main effects for all variables except height (p?=?0.40, ?2p?=?0.01) and sum of seven skinfolds (p?=?0.11, ?2p?=?0.02). Specifically, upper-and-lower muscular strength and power, prolonged high-intensity intermittent running ability, tackling, passing and catching improved with increasing playing standards. However, two-way analysis of variance only demonstrated significant interactions between the effects of age category and playing standards for vertical jump height (VJ) test, 2-kg medicine ball chest throw (2-kg MBCT) test, Yo-Yo intermittent recovery test level 1 (Yo-Yo IRT L1), and tackling and catching tests. Yo-Yo IRT L1, VJ, tackling and catching tests demonstrated greater discriminative ability among Under 16?s, whereas the 2-kg MBCT test showed better ability in Under 19?s. Conclusion:All SCRuM variables except skinfolds improved with age, highlighting relative sensitivity in differentiating older from younger athletes. However, the discriminative ability by playing standards for VJ, 2-kg MBCT, Yo-Yo IRT L1, tackling and catching ability tests was age-dependent. These findings informs on general attribute development in junior rugby players with age and on specific players attributes in need of monitoring for attainment of elite status at U16 or U19 level.
Project description:Parents of young athletes play a major role in the identification and management of sports-related concussions. However, they are often unaware of the consequences of concussions and recommended management techniques.This study quantitatively assessed parental understanding of concussions to identify specific populations in need of additional education. We predicted that parents with increased education and prior sports- and concussion-related experience would have more knowledge and safer attitudes toward concussions.Cross-sectional survey.Level 5.Participants were parents of children brought to a pediatric hospital and 4 satellite clinics for evaluation of orthopaedic injuries. Participants completed a validated questionnaire that assessed knowledge of concussion symptoms, attitudes regarding diagnosis and return-to-play guidelines, and previous sports- and concussion-related experience.Over 8 months, 214 parents completed surveys. Participants scored an average of 18.4 (possible, 0-25) on the Concussion Knowledge Index and 63.1 (possible, 15-75) on the Concussion Attitude Index. Attitudes were safest among white women, and knowledge increased with income and education levels. Previous sports experience did not affect knowledge or attitudes, but parents who reported experiencing an undiagnosed concussion had significantly better concussion knowledge than those who did not.Parents with low income and education levels may benefit from additional concussion-related education.There exist many opportunities for improvement in parental knowledge and attitudes about pediatric sports-related concussions. Ongoing efforts to understand parental knowledge of concussions will inform the development of a strategic and tailored approach to the prevention and management of pediatric concussions.
Project description:OBJECTIVES:This study aimed to determine the prevalence of hand and wrist osteoarthritis in former elite cricket and rugby union players, by sport and playing position, and to define the prevalence of severe hand injury, and its association with hand osteoarthritis. DESIGN:Cross-sectional. METHODS:Data from cross-sectional studies of former elite male cricket and rugby players were used to determine the prevalence of hand pain, physician-diagnosed osteoarthritis, and previous severe injury. Multivariable logistic regression was used to determine the association of previous injury with pain and osteoarthritis. RESULTS:Data from 200 cricketers and 229 rugby players were available. Complete case analysis resulted in 127 cricketers and 140 rugby players. Hand pain was more prevalent amongst cricketers (19.7%) than rugby players (10.0%). The prevalence did not differ between cricket and rugby players for hand osteoarthritis (2.4% and 3.6%), wrist osteoarthritis (1.6% and 2.1%), or previous severe hand injury (36.2% and 31.4%). No significant association between previous hand injury and pain or osteoarthritis was identified in either sport. CONCLUSIONS:Former elite cricketers reported more hand pain than rugby players. No significant association was found between self-reported severe injury and hand osteoarthritis in either cohort, potentially indicating that risk factors aside from injury may be more prominent in the development of hand osteoarthritis.