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246 Safe and sound for performance’s sake? An exploration on health and safety awareness in elite rugby
  1. Yanbing Chen1,
  2. Conor Buggy2,
  3. Seamus Kelly1
  1. 1Institute of Sport and Health, School of Public Health, Physiotherapy and Sports Science, University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
  2. 2Centre for Safety and Health at Work, School of Public Health, Physiotherapy and Sports Science, University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland


Background In elite rugby union, players often expose themselves to risk-taking behaviours resulting in a high risk acceptance level. The practical and theoretical occupational safety and health (OSH) have the potential to reflect health outcomes (e.g., injuries and accidents) in sports settings.

Objective This study explores key indicators of injury prevention and welfare protection in rugby union from an OSH perspective.

Design This study utilises semi-structured interview, the duration of which ranged from 22 to 50 minutes digitally recorded with consents.

Setting Individual interviews were conducted with current rugby supporting staff involving in national, provincial and university level.

Patients (or Participants) The participants (n=15) were current rugby supporting staff including coaching staff, medical staff and other management personnel.

Interventions (or Assessment of Risk Factors) The interview transcripts were inductively analysed by using Nvivo software, the key risk factors were then identified using abductive analysis by adopting an existing safety climate framework.

Main Outcome Measurements Factors being neglected in sports research will be discussed in this study, for example, safety justice is relating to players’ risk-taking behaviours during match or training; whether opponents are ‘co-workers’ and players’ safety attitudes towards co-workers can influence players’ aggressiveness which relates to injuries and accidents.

Results The framework identified for evaluating OSH awareness will be presented from two dimensions including five themes: rugby management commitment (management safety priority, management safety empowerment and management safety justice) and rugby player involvement (players’ safety priority and players’ trust in co-workers’ safety competence).

Conclusions The findings have theoretical implications for rugby organisations to design a survey to facilitate the development of appropriate behaviour interventions. Furthermore, the framework could be potentially applied in wider sports settings.

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