How Much Rugby is Too Much? A Seven-Season Prospective Cohort Study of Match Exposure and Injury Risk in Professional Rugby Union Players.
ABSTRACT: Numerous studies have documented the incidence and nature of injuries in professional rugby union, but few have identified specific risk factors for injury in this population using appropriate statistical methods. In particular, little is known about the role of previous short-term or longer-term match exposures in current injury risk in this setting.Our objective was to investigate the influence that match exposure has upon injury risk in rugby union.We conducted a seven-season (2006/7-2012/13) prospective cohort study of time-loss injuries in 1253 English premiership professional players. Players' 12-month match exposure (number of matches a player was involved in for ?20 min in the preceding 12 months) and 1-month match exposure (number of full-game equivalent [FGE] matches in preceding 30 days) were assessed as risk factors for injury using a nested frailty model and magnitude-based inferences.The 12-month match exposure was associated with injury risk in a non-linear fashion; players who had been involved in fewer than ?15 or more than ?35 matches over the preceding 12-month period were more susceptible to injury. Monthly match exposure was linearly associated with injury risk (hazard ratio [HR]: 1.14 per 2 standard deviation [3.2 FGE] increase, 90% confidence interval [CI] 1.08-1.20; likely harmful), although this effect was substantially attenuated for players in the upper quartile for 12-month match exposures (>28 matches).A player's accumulated (12-month) and recent (1-month) match exposure substantially influences their current injury risk. Careful attention should be paid to planning the workloads and monitoring the responses of players involved in: (1) a high (>?35) number of matches in the previous year, (2) a low (
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:This study investigated exposure time, running and skill-related performance in two international u20 rugby union teams during an intensified tournament: the 2015 Junior World Rugby Championship.Both teams played 5 matches in 19 days. Analyses were conducted using global positioning system (GPS) tracking (Viper 2™, Statsports Technologies Ltd) and event coding (Opta Pro®).Of the 62 players monitored, 36 (57.1%) participated in 4 matches and 23 (36.5%) in all 5 matches while player availability for selection was 88%. Analyses of team running output (all players completing >60-min play) showed that the total and peak 5-minute high metabolic load distances covered were likely-to-very likely moderately higher in the final match compared to matches 1 and 2 in back and forward players. In individual players with the highest match-play exposure (participation in >75% of total competition playing time and >75-min in each of the final 3 matches), comparisons of performance in matches 4 and 5 versus match 3 (three most important matches) reported moderate-to-large decreases in total and high metabolic load distance in backs while similar magnitude reductions occurred in high-speed distance in forwards. In contrast, skill-related performance was unchanged, albeit with trivial and unclear changes, while there were no alterations in either total or high-speed running distance covered at the end of matches.These findings suggest that despite high availability for selection, players were not over-exposed to match-play during an intensified u20 international tournament. They also imply that the teams coped with the running and skill-related demands. Similarly, individual players with the highest exposure to match-play were also able to maintain skill-related performance and end-match running output (despite an overall reduction in the latter). These results support the need for player rotation and monitoring of performance, recovery and intervention strategies during intensified tournaments.
Project description:OBJECTIVES: To obtain further information the incidence of injuries and playing positions affected in club rugby in Scotland. METHODS: Routine reports of injury (permanent) and blood (temporary) replacements occurring in competitive club rugby matches by referees to the Scottish Rugby Union during seasons 1990-1991 to 1996-1997 were analysed. RESULTS: A total of 3,513 injuries (87 per 100 scheduled matches) and 1,000 blood replacements (34 per 100 scheduled matches) were reported. Forwards accounted for 60% of the injury and 72% of the blood replacements. Flankers and the front row were the most commonly replaced forwards while wing and centre three quarters were the most vulnerable playing positions among backs. The incidence of injury replacements increased as the match progressed up until the last 10 minutes when the trend was reversed. Blood replacements showed a different pattern with 60% occurring during the first half of the match. CONCLUSION: The most important finding of the study was reliability of referees in documenting the vulnerability of certain playing positions, and the timing when injuries took place, thus assisting coaches and team selectors when choosing replacement players for competitive club and representative rugby matches. This study re-emphasises the need for continuing epidemiological research.
Project description:The tackle situation is most often associated with the high injury rates in rugby union. Tackle injury epidemiology in rugby union has previously been focused on senior cohorts but less is known about younger cohorts. The aim of this study was to report on the nature and rates of tackle-related injuries in South African youth rugby union players representing their provinces at national tournaments.Observational cohort study.Four South African Youth Week tournaments (under-13 Craven Week, under-16 Grant Khomo Week, under-18 Academy Week, under-18 Craven Week).Injury data were collected from 3652 youth rugby union players (population at risk) in 2011 and 2012.Tackle-related injury severity ('time-loss' and 'medical attention'), type and location, injury rate per 1000?h (including 95% CIs). Injury rate ratios (IRR) were calculated and modelled using a Poisson regression. A ?(2) analysis was used to detect linear trends between injuries and increasing match quarters.The 2012 under-13 Craven Week had a significantly greater 'time-loss' injury rate when compared with the 2012 under-18 Academy Week (IRR=4.43; 95% CI 2.13 to 9.21, p<0.05) and under-18 Craven Week (IRR=3.52; 95% CI 1.54 to 8.00, p<0.05). The Poisson regression also revealed a higher probability of 'overall' ('time-loss' and 'medical attention' combined) and 'time-loss' tackle-related injuries occurring at the under-13 Craven Week. The proportion of 'overall' and 'time-loss' injuries increased significantly with each quarter of the match when all four tournaments were combined (p<0.05).There was a difference in the tackle-related injury rate between the under-13 tournament and the two under-18 tournaments, and the tackle-related injury rate was higher in the final quarter of matches. Ongoing injury surveillance is required to better interpret these findings. Injury prevention strategies targeting the tackle may only be effective once the rate and nature of injuries have been accurately determined.
Project description:As women's rugby league grows, the need for understanding the movement patterns of the sport is essential for coaches and sports scientists. The aims of the present study were to quantify the position-specific demographics, technical match statistics, and movement patterns of the National Rugby League Women's (NRLW) Premiership and to identify whether there was a change in the intensity of play as a function of game time played. A retrospective observational study was conducted utilizing global positioning system, demographic, and match statistics collected from 117 players from all NRLW clubs across the full 2018 and 2019 seasons and were compared between the ten positions using generalized linear mixed models. The GPS data were separated into absolute (i.e., total distance, high-speed running distance, and acceleration load) and relative movement patterns (i.e., mean speed, mean high speed (> 12 km·h<sup>-1</sup>), and mean acceleration). For absolute external outputs, fullbacks covered the greatest distance (5,504 m), greatest high-speed distance (1,081 m), and most ball-carry meters (97 m), while five-eighths recorded the greatest acceleration load (1,697 m·s<sup>-2</sup>). For relative external outputs, there were no significant differences in mean speed and mean high speed between positions, while mean acceleration only significantly differed between wingers and interchanges. Only interchange players significantly decreased in mean speed as their number of minutes played increased. By understanding the load of NRLW matches, coaches, high-performance staff, and players can better prepare as the NRLW Premiership expands. These movement patterns and match statistics of NRLW matches can lay the foundation for future research as women's rugby league expands. Similarly, coaches, high-performance staff, and players can also refine conditioning practices with a greater understanding of the external output of NRLW players.
Project description:<h4>Objectives</h4>The Accident Compensation Corporation is a compulsory, 24-h, no-fault personal injury insurance scheme in New Zealand. The purpose of this large-scale retrospective cohort study was to use Accident Compensation Corporation records to provide information about rugby injury epidemiology in New Zealand, with a focus on describing differences in risk by age and gender.<h4>Methods</h4>A total of 635,657 rugby injury claims were made to the Accident Compensation Corporation for players aged 5-40 years over the period 2005-2017. Information about player numbers and estimates of player exposure was obtained from New Zealand Rugby, the administrative organisation for rugby in New Zealand.<h4>Results</h4>Over three quarters of claims (76%) were for soft-tissue injuries, with 11% resulting from fractures or dislocations, 6.7% from lacerations, 3.1% from concussions and 2.0% from dental injuries. Body regions injured included shoulder (14%), knee (14%), wrist/hand (13%), neck/spine (13%), head/face (12%), leg (11%) and ankle (10%). The probability of a player making at least one injury claim in a season (expressed as a percentage) was calculated under the assumption that the incidence of claims follows a Poisson distribution. Players aged 5-6 years had a probability of making at least one claim per season of 1.0%, compared to 8.3% for players aged 7-12 years, 35% for age 13-17 years, 53% for age 18-20 years, 57% for age 21-30 years and 47% for age 31-40 years. The overall probability of making at least one claim per season across all age groups was 29%. The relative claim rate for adults (players aged 18 years and over) was 3.92 (90% confidence interval 3.90-3.94) times that of children. Ten percent of players were female, and they sustained 6% of the injuries. Overall, the relative claim rate for female players was 0.57 times that of male players (90% confidence interval 0.56-0.58). The relative claim rate of female to male players tended to increase with age. There were very few female players aged over 30 years; however, those who did play had higher claim rates than male players of the same age group (1.49; 90% confidence interval 1.45-1.53).<h4>Conclusions</h4>Injuries resulting from rugby are distributed across the body, and most of the claims are for soft-tissue injuries. Rates of injury increase rapidly through the teenage years until the early 20 s; for male players they then decrease until the mid-30 s. For female players, the injury rate does not decrease as players move into their 30 s. Combining Accident Compensation Corporation injury claim data with national player registration data provides useful information about the risks faced by New Zealand's community rugby players, and the insights derived are used in the development of rugby injury prevention programme content.
Project description:Training prescription and monitoring of team-sport athletes rely on accurate quantification of player movement. Our aim was to determine the sensitivity, reliability and construct validity of measures derived from a wearable device incorporating Global Positioning System (GPS) and accelerometer technology to quantify the peak periods of rugby competition. Match movement data were collected from 30 elite and 30 sub-elite rugby union players across respective competitive seasons. Accelerometer and GPS measures were analysed using a rolling average to identify peak movement for epochs ranging from 5 to 600 seconds. General linear mixed modelling was used to quantify the effects of playing position and match-half on the peak movement and variabilities within and between players represented reliability of each measure. Mean positional differences and match-half changes were assessed via standardisation and magnitude-based decisions. Sensitivity of measures was quantified via evaluation of ("signal") and typical error of measurement ("noise"). GPS and accelerometer measures had poor sensitivity for quantifying peak movement across all epochs and both levels of rugby union competition (noise 4× to 5× the signal). All measures displayed correspondingly low reliability across most epochs and both levels of competition (ICC<0.50). Construct validity was evident in mean differences between playing positions and match halves that were consistent with expected activity profiles in rugby union. However, it was clear from the pattern of differences across epoch durations and levels of competition that GPS and accelerometer measures provided different information about player movement. The poor sensitivity and low reliability of GPS and accelerometer measures of peak movement imply that rugby union players need to be monitored across many matches to obtain adequate precision for assessing individuals. Although all measures displayed construct validity, accelerometers provided meaningful information additional to that of GPS. We recommend using accelerometers alongside GPS to monitor and prescribe match respresentative training.
Project description:This study aimed to i) identify key performance indicators of professional rugby matches, ii) define synthetic indicators of performance and iii) analyze how weekly workload (2WL) influences match performance throughout an entire season at different time-points (considering WL of up to 8 weeks prior to competition). This study uses abundant sports data and data mining techniques to assess player performance and to determine the influence of 2WL on performance. WL, locomotor activity and rugby specific actions were collected on 14 professional players (26.9 ± 1.9 years) during training and official matches. In order to highlight key performance indicators, a mixed-linear model was used to compare the players' activity relatively to competition results. This analysis showed that defensive skills represent a fundamental factor of team performance. Furthermore, a principal component analysis demonstrated that 88% of locomotor activity could be highlighted by 2 dimensions including total distance, high-speed/metabolic efforts and the number of sprints and accelerations. The final purpose of this study was to analyze the influence that WL has on match performance. To verify this, 2 different statistical models were used. A threshold-based model, from data mining processes, identified the positive influence (p<0.05) that chronic body impacts has on the ability to win offensive 1 on 1 duels during competition. This study highlights practical implications necessary for developing a better understanding of rugby match performance through the use of data mining processes.
Project description:Rugby union (RU) is a skill-collision team sport played at junior and senior levels worldwide. Within England, age-grade rugby governs the participation and talent development of youth players. The RU player development pathway has recently been questioned, regarding player performance and well-being, which sport science research can address. The purpose of this review was to summarise and critically appraise the literature in relation to the applied sport science of male age-grade RU players in England focussing upon (1) match-play characteristics, (2) training exposures, (3) physical qualities, (4) fatigue and recovery, (5) nutrition, (6) psychological challenges and development, and (7) injury. Current research evidence suggests that age, playing level and position influence the match-play characteristics of age-grade RU. Training exposures of players are described as 'organised chaos' due to the multiple environments and stakeholders involved in coordinating training schedules. Fatigue is apparent up to 72?h post match-play. Well-developed physical qualities are important for player development and injury risk reduction. The nutritional requirements are high due to the energetic costs of collisions. Concerns around the psychological characteristics have also been identified (e.g. perfectionism). Injury risk is an important consideration with prevention strategies available. This review highlights the important multi-disciplinary aspects of sport science for developing age-grade RU players for continued participation and player development. The review describes where some current practices may not be optimal, provides a framework to assist practitioners to effectively prepare age-grade players for the holistic demands of youth RU and considers areas for future research.
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.