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Call to action: a collaborative framework to better support female rugby league players
  1. Cloe Cummins1,2,3,
  2. Jaede Melinz1,
  3. Doug King1,4,5,
  4. Colin Sanctuary1,6,
  5. Aron Murphy1
  1. 1 School of Science and Technology, University of New England, Armidale, New South Wales, Australia
  2. 2 Institute for Sport Physical Activity and Leisure, Leeds Beckett University, Leeds, West Yorkshire, UK
  3. 3 National Rugby League, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  4. 4 Sports Performance Research Institute New Zealand (SPRINZ), Auckland University of Technology Faculty of Health and Environmental Sciences, Auckland, New Zealand
  5. 5 Traumatic Brain Injury Network (TBIN), Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand
  6. 6 New South Wales Rugby League, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Cloe Cummins, School of Science and Technology, University of New England, Armidale, NSW 2351, Australia; ccummin5{at}une.edu.au

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The rise of women’s rugby league

Women’s sports have seen a substantial increase in participation numbers and in their professionalism. There was a 29% increase in the number of Australian women who played rugby league in 20181 and there have been increased competition pathways for women in both Australia (ie, National Rugby League Women’s (NRLW) premiership) and England (ie, Women’s Super League (WSL)).

Although female sporting teams and leagues struggle with participation, financial investment and spectatorship (ie, sociological factors),2 both the NRLW and WSL have major naming right sponsors. The Australian NRLW and State of Origin matches and the WSL grand final are also broadcast live on television.

An evidence-base for managing the performance and well-being of female rugby league players

There is a paucity of sports science, clinical and medical literature on female rugby league players (n=8 articles; Scopus, July 2019). We attribute this to factors such as, participation numbers, limited years of professional women’s rugby league (ie, 2 years in Australia and 3 years in England) and a number of complex sociological factors. Much of the published research is outdated. Indeed the available injury surveillance research3 is over 10 years old and the types and rates of …

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Footnotes

  • Twitter @cloecummins, @ColinSanctuary

  • Contributors According to the definition given by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), the authors listed above qualify for authorship based on making one or more of the substantial contributions to the intellectual content of: (i) conception and design (CC and AM); and/or (ii) acquisition of data (CC, JM and CS); and/or (iii) analysis and interpretation of data (CC, JM, CS and AM); and/or (iv) participated in drafting of the manuscript (CC, JM, DK and CS) and/or (v) critical revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content (CC, JM, DK, CS and AM).

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests The National Rugby League provided support in the form of research funding for CC. The National Rugby League did not have any role in the study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish or preparation of the manuscript. CS holds the position of player development manager at New South Wales Rugby League.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

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

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