Background Rugby-7s an emerging sport in the United States (US) encounters concussions, a growing public concern.
Objective To report incidence of concussions in US Rugby-7s. We hypothesized that concussive injuries would occur with frequency in US Rugby-7s similar to international cohorts.
Design Prospective descriptive epidemiology study.
Setting The study encompassed U19 to elite players in USA Rugby tournaments (2010–2013).
Participants A total of 13,644 US players (Men=9,768; Women=3,876; age: 13–49 years) were included over 28 tournaments of 2,688 matches (Men=1,886; Women=802) in 1,137 sides/teams (Men=814; Women=323).
Assessment of Risk Factors Intrinsic and extrinsic risk factors in match injuries.
Main measurement outcome Incidence (per 1000 player-hour (ph)) and mechanism, captured using Rugby Injury Survey & Evaluation (RISE) Report methodology. Time-loss injuries=defined as players who did not return to play the day of their injury. Severity=defined as days absent before return to training/competition (including post tournament).
Results Incidence of concussive injuries was 7.7/1000 ph. No difference was noted between women (8.1/1000 ph, n=21) or men (7.6/1000 ph, n=46; P=0.593). Most concussions had “no loss of consciousness” (86.6%; n=58). Higher levels of competition encountered greater incidence (18.3/1000 ph vs. 6.4/1000 ph; P=0.001). Concussions resulted in a mean 30.6 days absent from competition (range=0–135 days) for the 97% of players with follow-up data. Compliance with the 3-wk stand-down return-to-play recommendations was found at 60%. Players reported a repeat concussion at 43.2% (12 months). Players who had multiple concussions within a year, encountered more severity (42.8 mean days absent; CI=23.0–62.6; P=0.03).
Conclusions The 7.7/1000 ph incidence of concussion among US amateur Rugby-7s is concerning given international incidences range from 2.0 to 8.3/1000 ph. The 40% of players non-compliant with the recommended 3-week stand-down regulation indicates that a formal mechanism to “clear” players for return to play is needed for Rugby-7s.
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