Background Rugby-7s growth in the United States predominantly seen in the amateur population, has very little youth rugby injury data.
Objective To report incidence and causes for US youth Rugby-7s match injuries.
Design Prospective descriptive epidemiology study.
Setting The study encompassed Under-19 players in USA Rugby sanctioned tournaments (2010–2014).
Participants A total of 3,804 US players (13–19 years old) were included over 24 tournaments, of 643 youth-division matches (140=female; 515=male) in 317 sides/teams (61=females; 256=males).
Assessment of Risk Factors Causes in youth Rugby-7s injuries.
Main measurement outcome Injury incidence (per 1000 player-hour (ph)) and mechanism, captured using Rugby Injury Survey & Evaluation (RISE) Report methodology. 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 Injuries combined were found at 81.9/1000 ph (n=172) (time-loss injuries=33.3/1000 ph; n=70; medical attention injuries=48.6/1000 ph; n=102; P=0.013). Males among positions, experienced higher rates of injuries (backs 81.8/1000 ph, n=77; forwards 56.7/1000 ph, n=40; RR: 1.16, P=0.053) than females (backs 65.6/1000 ph, n=17; forwards 77.1/1000 ph, n=15; RR: 0.93, P=0.642) (RR: 0.96, P=0.332). Time-loss injuries resulted in a mean severity of 35.4 days (females, 29.6 days; males, 37.6 days). Most injuries were acute (93%; RR: 2.3, P<0.001) during tackling (80.3%; RR: 1.6, P<0.001). Injuries most commonly involved the joints or ligaments (40%) and the lower extremities (39%). High incidences of head and neck injuries including concussions (overall 26%) and upper extremity injuries (29%) were seen among the youth.
Conclusions US Rugby-7s youth had lower time-loss injury rates (33.3/1000 ph) than US amateur adult Rugby-7s (49.2–55.4/1000 ph) and international boys' Rugby-15s (35–57.2/1000 ph). Due to tackling injuries among head, neck and upper extremity, US youth would benefit from injury prevention in a tackling technique evaluation.