Objective—To study the incidence of the most commonly sustained injuries in Argentine rugby and analyse them according to type, position and age of the players, and phase and time of play.
Methods—A prospective registry of injuries was constructed in different provincial unions of Argentina. Data were collected during a whole weekend each year from 1991 to 1997. χ2 with Yates correction test, contingency tables, odds ratios (OR), and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were calculated (Epi Info Version 6.04a).
Results—A total of 924 injuries were registered in 1296 rugby games, involving 38 933 players. The mean (SD) incidence per weekend was 2.4 (0.2)% (95% CI 2.22 to 2.53), and the number of injuries per season was 24 188. Overall, senior players suffered more injuries than those in younger divisions (OR = 1.53; 95% CI 1.34 to 1.76; p<0.0001). The most common type of injury was pulled muscles of the lower limbs (11.7%, p<0.0001). Overall, the knee was the most susceptible to injury (14.1%, p<0.0001). Senior players suffered more pulled muscles of the lower limbs (OR = 2.99; 95% CI 2.01 to 4.46; p<0.0001), ankle ligament distension (OR = 1.69; 95% CI 1.12 to 2.53; p = 0.01), knee trauma (OR = 1.69; 95% CI 1.06 to 2.68; p = 0.02), bleeding wounds on the face (OR = 3.86; 95% CI 2.24 to 6.70; p<0.0001), and knee ligament distension (OR = 2.14; 95% CI 1.16 to 3.96; p = 0.01). Younger players had a greater risk of suffering muscular or ligament injuries of the cervical column (OR = 3.0; 95% CI 1.05 to 10.08; p = 0.04). The forwards had a higher risk of injury (OR = 1.41; 95% CI 1.23 to 1.61; p<0.0001). The most commonly injured player was the flanker (15.5%, p<0.01), and the most common mechanism was in open play (33%). More injuries were sustained in the second half (OR = 1.17; 95% CI 1.03 to 1.34; p = 0.01).
Conclusions—Injuries are the cause of significant morbidity among rugby players in Argentina. A more thorough investigation and a greater understanding of the mechanisms are crucial in order to update the rugby laws and reduce this high injury incidence.
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