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Communicating the risk of injury in schoolboy rugby: using Poisson probability as an alternative presentation of the epidemiology
  1. Nikesh Parekh1,
  2. Stewart D Hodges2,
  3. Allyson M Pollock3,
  4. Graham Kirkwood4
  1. 1Medical School, Kings College London, London, UK
  2. 2Cass Business School, City University London, London, UK
  3. 3Centre for Primary Care and Public Health, Queen Mary, University of London, London, UK
  4. 4University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK
  1. Correspondence to A M Pollock, Centre for Primary Care and Public Health, Queen Mary, University of London, London E1 2AT, UK; a.pollock{at}


Background The communication of injury risk in rugby and other sports is underdeveloped and parents, children and coaches need to be better informed about risk.

Method A Poisson distribution was used to transform population based incidence of injury into average probabilities of injury to individual players.

Results The incidence of injury in schoolboy rugby matches range from 7 to 129.8 injuries per 1000 player-hours; these rates translate to average probabilities of injury to a player of between 12% and 90% over a season.

Conclusion Incidence of injury and average probabilities of injury over a season should be published together in all future epidemiological studies on school rugby and other sports. More research is required on informing and communicating injury risks to parents, staff and children and how it affects monitoring, decision making and prevention strategies.

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.