Background Groin/Hip injuries are among the top 6 most commonly cited injuries in Rugby Union (RU). These injuries have increased significantly since 2002 moving from 16th to 4th place in the most common training injuries in 2012 RU annual audit.
Objective To identify intrinsic risk factors for groin/hip injuries in an academy level RU population.
Design Prospective cohort study design. Players were tested pre,mid and end season by primary investigator (PI) with team physiotherapists collecting injury data.
Setting Testing was carried out in University of Limerick and two Irish RU provincial training grounds.
Participants 43 players were recruited using dissemination of information leaflets and objective discussion. Inclusion criteria: Academy level RU players from 2011/2012 provincial teams, over 18 years of age, fluent in English with written consent. Exclusion criteria: Injured or non-consenting players.
Risk factor assessment Hip adductor squeeze strength, hip abductor/adductor isometric strength, passive and active internal/external hip rotation ROM, hip abduction ROM, adductor flexibility, groin palpation and quality of single leg squat were examined. Anthropometric data was collected using questionnaires. Team physiotherapists recorded injuries using OSCIS grading system. Hypothesis was formulated prior to testing.
Results Incidence of groin/hip injuries was 21%. Non-modifiable risk factors identified were previous injury and smaller player height. Modifiable risk factors identified included; lower isometric squeeze strength, reduced dominant leg and bilateral mean adductor flexibility, greater dominant and non-dominant hip internal rotation ROM and positive tenderness of adductor origin musculature.
Conclusions This study succeeded its objective. This is of significant importance clinically due to high injury incidence leading to missed training/matches and associated costs. Future research should call on the rugby community to implement these identified risk factors in the development of a screening tool for groin/hip injuries and examine its efficiency at reducing the incidence of injury thus taking the next step in groin/hip injury prevention.