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The New Zealand Rugby Injury and Performance Project: V. Epidemiology of a season of rugby injury.
  1. Y N Bird,
  2. A E Waller,
  3. S W Marshall,
  4. J C Alsop,
  5. D J Chalmers,
  6. D F Gerrard
  1. Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, Medical School, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand.


    OBJECTIVE: To describe the incidence, nature, and circumstances of injury experienced by a cohort of rugby union players during a full competitive club season. METHODS: A prospective cohort study followed up 356 male and female rugby players throughout the 1993 competitive club season. Players were interviewed by telephone each week to obtain information on the amount of rugby played and the injury experienced. RESULTS: Detailed information was collected for 4403 player-games and 8653 player-practices. A total of 671 injury events were reported, of which 569 were rugby related. The injury rate for games was higher than that for practices (rate ratio 8.3). At 10.9 injuries per 100 player-games, males had a higher rate of injury than females at 6.1 injuries per 100 player-games (p<0.001). Injury rates varied by position, with male locks (13.0 injuries per 100 player-games) and female inside backs (12.3 injuries per 100 player-games) having the highest rate in their respective sexes. The lower limb was the body region most often injured in games (42.5%) and practices (58.4%). Sprains/strains were the most common type of injury in games (46.7%) and practices (76.1%). In games the tackle was the phase of play in which the most injuries occurred (40%), followed by rucks (17%) and mauls (12%). Thirteen per cent of game injury events were the result of foul play. CONCLUSIONS: Rugby injury was common among the study subjects and varied according to grade and gender. Identifying the causes of injuries in the tackle, lower limb injuries, and dealing with the issue of foul play are priority areas for the prevention of rugby injury.

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