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2016 Rio Olympics: an epidemiological study of the men’s and women’s Rugby-7s tournaments
  1. Colin W Fuller1,2,
  2. Aileen Taylor1,
  3. Martin Raftery1
  1. 1 World Rugby, Dublin, Ireland
  2. 2 Colin Fuller Consultancy Ltd, Sutton Bonington, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Colin W Fuller, World Rugby, World Rugby House, Pembroke Street Lower, Dublin 2, Ireland; colin.fuller{at}


Objective To determine the incidence, severity and nature of injuries sustained during the men’s and women’s 2014/2015 and 2015/2016 Sevens World Series (SWS) and 2016 Olympic Games Rugby Sevens tournaments.

Design A prospective cohort study.

Participants All players from the core teams competing in the men’s and women’s 2014/2015 and 2015/2016 SWS (men: 15 teams; women: 11 teams) and all players from the men’s (12 teams) and women’s (12 teams) 2016 Rio Olympics tournaments.

Results The gold, silver and bronze medal-winning women’s teams contained bigger players (body mass and stature) than other teams but the men’s medal winning teams came from across the size spectrum of men’s teams competing at Rio 2016. The incidences of injury in the men’s tournaments (2014/2015 SWS: 107.7 injuries/1000 player-match-hours (95% CI 90.9 to 127.4); 2015/2016 SWS: 109.7 (95% CI 93.7 to 128.6); Rio 2016: 124.5 (95% CI 73.7 to 210.2)) were higher but not statistically significant than those in the equivalent women’s tournaments (2014/2015 SWS: 88.5 (95% CI 68.4 to 114.5), p=0.250; 2015/2016 SWS: 109.4 (95% CI 84.2 to 142.2), p=0.984; Rio 2016: 71.1 (95% CI 35.6 to 142.2), p=0.208). There were no statistically significant differences between the incidences of injury at the men’s and women’s 2016 Rio Olympics and the equivalent 2014/2015 (men: p=0.603; women: p=0.562) and 2015/2016 (men: p=0.652; women: p=0.254) SWS.

Conclusions The incidence, severity and nature of the injuries sustained during the men’s and women’s Rio 2016 Rugby-7s tournaments fell within the normal range of values for international Rugby-7s tournaments.

  • Olympics
  • Load
  • Epidemiology
  • Rugby
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  • Funding The study was funded by World Rugby, Dublin, Ireland.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Ethics approval World Rugby Institutional Ethics Committee.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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