Background There are limited data on Rugby-7s, an emerging sport in the United States (US), which debuted in the 2016 Olympics.
Objective To report incidence and causes for US Rugby-7s. We hypothesized that match injuries would be frequent and patterns of injuries would be similar in the US population to international cohorts.
Design Prospective descriptive epidemiology study.
Setting The study encompassed U19 to elite players in USA Rugby tournaments (2010–2013).
Participants A total of 13,644 US players (Men=9,768; Women=3,876; age: 13–49 years) were included over 28 tournaments (37 days) of 2,688 matches (Men=1,886; Women=802) in 1,137 sides/teams (Men=814; Women=323).
Assessment of Risk Factors Intrinsic and extrinsic risk factors in Rugby-7s match injuries.
Main measurement outcome Injury incidence (per 1000 player-hour (ph)) and mechanism captured using the Rugby Injury Survey & Evaluation (RISE) Report methodology. Time-loss injuries were defined as players who did not return to play the day of their injury. Injury severity was defined as days absent before return to training/competition (including post tournament).
Results Overall incidence of time-loss injuries was 50.6/1000 ph. Time-loss injuries were highest among sub-elite level players (69.5/1000 ph) (P<0.001). Fifty percent of all injuries occurred in 20–25 year olds which was consistent with the age distribution of the participants. The average injury severity was 44 days (CI 37.7–49.4) for the 97% of players with follow-up data. Most tournament match injuries were new acute injuries (95%), occurred during tackling (68%), were ligament sprains (35%), and in the lower extremity (52%). Head/face (22.6%) and upper extremity (24.7%) injuries were also frequent.
Conclusions Compared to international elite cohorts, the US amateur population had lower overall injury incidence, however, they had a higher frequency of upper extremity and head/face injuries. Injury prevention protocols in the US should focus on tackling techniques, which may reduce incidence of tournament match injuries.
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