Background Rugby-7s is growing in popularity, however there is a comparative lack of injury data.
Objective To report incidence of contact and non-contact causes of US Rugby-7s injuries.
Design Prospective descriptive epidemiology study.
Setting The study encompassed U19 to elite players in USA Rugby tournaments (2010–2014).
Participants A total of 24,418 US players (Men=17,770; Women=6.768; age: 13–49 years) were included over 57 tournaments (72 days) of 4,448 matches (Men=3,238; Women=1,261) in 2,038 teams (Men=1,474; Women=564).
Assessment of Risk Factors Contact and non-contact causes of match injuries.
Main measurement outcome Injury incidence (per 1000 player-hour (ph)) and mechanism, captured using Rugby Injury Survey & Evaluation (RISE) Report. Time-loss injuries=players who did not return to play the day of their injury. Medical attention injuries=players who had injuries evaluated with no absence from play. Severity=days absent before return to training/competition (including post tournament).
Results Contact injuries (54%; n=823) occurred more often than non-contact (46%; n=697) (P<0.001). Medical attention injuries occurred more often (contact=30.4/1000 ph; non-contact=29.2/1000 ph; P<0.001), than time-loss injuries (contact=23.8/1000 ph; non-contact=16.7/1000 ph; P<0.001). Non-contact causes encountered no differences (men=48.1/1000 ph; women=46.95/1000 ph; P=0.621). Non-contact causes occurred in 20–25 year olds at 54% (n=354). Days absent were frequent among 63% with follow-up data (contact=34 days; CI: 26.5–41.3; non-contact=32 days; CI: 26.6–39.3). New acute match injuries (94%) were most common (contact 57%; non-contact 43%; P<0.001) with tackles (contact=77%; non-contact=52%), followed by open play (non-contact=32%). Ligament injuries were most common among causes (non-contact =23%; contact=30%). Similar rates among non-contact causes were found with field types (grass=46.1/1000 ph; artificial=52.4/1000 ph; P=0.467).
Conclusions Due to the frequency of contact injuries, tackling techniques must be evaluated as an area for injury prevention in Rugby 7s. The cause of non-contact injuries with increased open-play needs attention for injury prevention and management.