Br J Sports Med 46:138-142 doi:10.1136/bjsm.2010.072132
  • Original articles

Injury in elite county-level hurling: a prospective study

  1. Catherine Blake2
  1. 1Medical Scientific Committee Gaelic Athletic Association, Dublin, Ireland
  2. 2University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
  3. 3St Mary's University College, Twickenham, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Catherine Blake, UCD School of Public Health, Physiotherapy and Population Science, Room A1.03, Health Sciences Centre, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland; c.blake{at}
  • Accepted 19 May 2010
  • Published Online First 19 October 2010


Objective To determine the incidence, prevalence and nature of sports injuries in elite male hurling players.

Design Prospective study of county-grade hurling teams. Incidence, prevalence and descriptions of injuries were collated.

Setting Four county teams during the 2007 season; January to September inclusive.

Participants A total of 127 male players were followed over 34 weeks. Data were collected on a median (IQR) of 31 (30–32) players per team per week. The mean age was 23.3±2.5 years.

Results There were 204 injuries to 104 players (82%, 95% CI (74 to 88)). Injury incidence rate during match-play (102.5 (84.4 to 123.2)) was 19 times higher than for training (5.3 (4.2 to 6.5)) (RR=19.5 (14.8 to 25.6)). The mean weekly prevalence of injury was 13.9% (12.5 to 14.8). Most injuries were new (n=170, 83.3%, (77.6 to 87.8)) and acute (n=165, 80.9% (74.9 to 85.7)). Muscle strain (n=86) accounted for 42.2% (35.6 to 49) of the total. 71% of injuries were to the lower limb (n=143, (63.5 to 76.0)) with hamstring strain (n=33, 16.5% (11.8 to 21.8)) predominating. Fractures constituted 7.4% injuries (n=15, 95% CI (4.5 to 11.8)), 12 of which were to the upper limb. There were three (1.5% (0.5 to 4.2)) eye injuries and one concussion injury (0.5% (0.1 to 2.7)).

Conclusions These results provide data on hurling injuries using definitions that reflect international consensus statements. Injury incidence from match-play in particular is high compared with other sports. These findings have relevance for clinicians and coaches.


  • Funding Gaelic Athletic Association.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval Provided by the UCD Dublin Ethics Committee.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.