Background Little is known about injury patterns in women's rugby sevens.
Objective To investigate the incidence of match and training injuries sustained by elite female rugby sevens players during preparation for and during the world cup.
Design Prospective cohort study.
Setting England Women's Rugby Sevens World Cup Squad.
Participants 17 members of the England Women's Rugby Sevens World Cup training squad.
Independent variables Match and training exposure.
Main outcome measurements: Match and training injury incidence and severity.
Results 34 time-loss injuries (12 match and 22 training) were recorded during 2308 hours of exposure (64 hours match-play and 2244 hours training). Match and training injury incidence rates were 187/1000 hours (95% CI: 106-330) and 10/1000 hours (95% CI: 7–15), respectively. Mean severity of match injuries was 33 days (median=14 days), and 40 days (median=15 days) for training injuries. Typically, match injuries were acute onset (10 out of 12 injuries; 83%) and occurred during contact (8 out of 12; 67%). In contrast, 15 out of 22 (68%) training injuries were non-contact with an associated injury burden of 369 days absence per 1000 training hours. Over two thirds of these non-contact injuries were associated with running and the remainder recorded as chronic injuries.
Conclusions Match injury incidence in this small cohort was higher than in women's 15s (36/1000 hours) (Taylor et al., 2011) and in men's sevens (106/1000 hours) (Fuller et al., 2010). In addition, training injury incidence rate is much higher than has been reported previously. Given that a total of 827 days were lost to non-contact training injuries, a specific focus on injury reduction in this context could have a major impact on player availability.