Objective To examine the match injury profile of professional rugby union players by individual playing position.
Design 4-season prospective cohort design.
Setting 14 English Premiership clubs.
Participants 899 professional players.
Main outcome measure Incidence of match injury (recorded as the number of injuries/1000 player-hours of match exposure), severity of injury (recorded as the number of days of absence) and days of absence due to injury per 1000 player-hours of match exposure.
Assessment of risk factors Injury diagnosis and individual playing position during a match.
Results 2484 injuries were reported. While there were no significant differences in the total days of absence as a result of injury between different positions in the forwards and the backs, there were a number of significant differences in injury profile for players in individual playing positions. Although three common body locations caused a high proportion of days of absence due to match injury for forwards (shoulder, knee, ankle/heel) and backs (shoulder, hamstring, knee), there were significant differences in injury profile between individual positions.
Conclusions The results clearly demonstrate the need for individual position-specific injury-prevention programmes in rugby union. When devising such programmes, a player's previous injury history should also be taken into account.
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Funding Rugby Football Union.
Competing interests None.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
Detail has been removed from this case description or these case descriptions to ensure anonymity. The editors and reviewers have seen the detailed information available and are satisfied that the information backs up the case the authors are making.