Background: Although there have been reports of injury rates in men’s World Cup rugby, there has been no research into injury rates in women’s international rugby.
Objective: To determine the rate of injury at the 2006 Women’s Rugby World Cup (WRWC).
Methods: All participating teams in the 2006 WRWC were enrolled prospectively in this study. Healthcare workers for each team collected data on training and game exposure and information on injuries.
Results: 55 players (16%) sustained at least one injury (10.0/1000 player hours); 4 players (1%) sustained two injuries. 45 injuries occurred during games (37.5/1000 player hours) and 14 injuries occurred during practice (12.5/1000 player hours), a statistically significant difference (RR = 12.5, 95% CI 6.9 to 22.8). The injury rate was 39.3/1000 player hours for the forwards and 42.2/1000 player hours for the backs (RR = 1.3, 95% CI 0.7 to 2.3). The front row had the highest injury rate (62.5/1000 player hours). 63.6% of injuries occurred during the tackle. Most injuries occurred to the neck, knee and head/face. The majority of injuries were sprains, muscle injuries and contusions. There were five fractures during the event and four reported concussions.
Conclusion: Female players sustained a considerable rate of injury during the 2006 WRWC. Backs had a slightly higher rate of injury than forwards, but the players most often injured were in the front row. The neck/cervical spine and knee were the most commonly injured regions, followed by the head and face. This is the first study to examine injury rates in female rugby players at a World Cup and reports valuable data in this population.
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Funding: Financial support for this study was provided by the International Rugby Board.
Competing interests: None.
Ethics approval: Ethics approval for the study was obtained from the University of Calgary Office of Medical Bioethics.