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Background: The use of protective equipment to decrease the incidence and severity of injuries in rugby union requires further investigation.

Research question/s: How effective is protective equipment in reducing the risk of injuries in rugby union?


Subjects: 304 rugby players.

Experimental procedure: All of the players were assessed pre-season (questionnaire, anthropometry, fitness) and then followed weekly during a club season to assess protective equipment use (expressed as % player weeks used), participation in rugby, and injury outcomes.

Measures of outcome: Rate of all injuries (adjusting for covariates such as level of competition, playing position, and injury history) and selected injuries (mouthguard (MG) – teeth, mouth, and jaw injuries; shin guard (SG) – lower leg laceration, abrasion, contusion; padded headgear (PH) – concussion and other scalp abrasions or contusions; taping (TP) – body areas; head tape (HT) – scalp and auricular injury; support sleeve (SS) – sprain to upper limb, knee ankle; grease (GR) – scalp and auricular injury).

Main finding/s:

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  • MG appeared to lower the risk of orofacial injury (rate ratio (RR)  =  0.56, 95%CI 0.07 to 4.63), PH tended to prevent damage to the scalp and ears (RR  =  0.59, 95% CI 0.19 to 1.86), SS tended to reduce the risk of sprains and strains (RR  =  0.58, …

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