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EFFICACY OF A MOVEMENT CONTROL INJURY-PREVENTION PROGRAMME IN AN ADULT COMMUNITY RUGBY UNION POPULATION; A CLUSTER RANDOMISED CONTROLLED TRIAL
  1. Matt Attwood1,
  2. Simon Roberts1,
  3. Grant Trewartha1,
  4. Mike England2,
  5. Keith Stokes1
  1. 1Department for Health, University of Bath, Bath, United Kingdom
  2. 2Rugby Football Union, Twickenham, United Kingdom

    Abstract

    Background Exercise programmes aimed at reducing injury have been shown to be efficacious for some non-collision sports, but evidence in collision sports such as rugby union is lacking.

    Objective To evaluate the efficacy of an evidence-informed injury prevention exercise programme in reducing match injuries in adult community rugby union players.

    Design Prospective cluster randomised (single-blind) controlled trial. Clubs were the unit of randomisation.

    Setting English adult community clubs (2015–2016 season) with a formally qualified medical professional to diagnose and report match-injuries.

    Participants 860 clubs were invited to participate of which 81 volunteered and were randomly assigned. Data was received from 41 clubs (control, 19; intervention, 22).

    Interventions A 42-week exercise programme comprising 6-week graduated exercise blocks was introduced during pre-season. The control programme reflected ‘normal practice’ exercises, whereas the intervention focused on proprioception, balance, cutting, landing, and resistance exercises.

    Main Outcome Measurements Match-injury incidence and burden for: all ≥8 days time-loss injuries and targeted (lower-limb, shoulder, head and neck, excluding fractures and lacerations) ≥8 days time-loss injuries.

    Results Poisson regression identified unclear differences between groups for overall injury incidence (rate ratio (RR), 90% confidence interval (CI)=0.9, 0.6–1.3) and injury burden (RR, 90% CI=0.8, 0.5–1.4). A likely beneficial difference in targeted injury incidence (RR, 90% CI=0.6, 0.4–1.0) was identified, with ∼40% lower lower-limb incidence (RR, 90% CI=0.6, 0.4–1.0) and ∼60% lower concussion incidence (RR, 90%CI=0.36, 0.18–0.70) in the intervention group. Completing the intervention at least once per week was associated with a likely beneficial difference between groups (intervention n=15, control n=13; RR, 90% CI=0.7, 0.4–1.0).

    Conclusions This movement-control injury-prevention programme appeared efficacious, with likely beneficial differences for lower-limb injuries and concussion for the treatment clubs. Targeted injury incidence was ∼30% lower when 1 or more intervention sessions were completed each week.

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