Objectives RugbySmart is a safe tackle technique education programme. Our objective was to identify whether the RugbySmart-recommended safe tackle technique was exhibited by club rugby players and whether tackle-related injuries showed poor tackle technique characteristics.
Methods The prospective cohort design enabled 28 senior club based amateur male rugby union players from New Zealand to be followed over 18 matches in the 2017 rugby season. Game video analysis by three analysts provided categorisation of tackle technique into type, approach, foot contact, leading foot and rear foot position, face and head position. Injuries were diagnosed by the same sports medicine physician.
Results In the 18 matches, 28 players completed a combined total of 3006 tackles, with only six tackle-related injuries sustained. Notable findings included: (1) forwards complete more tackles than backs; (2) shoulder tackles were the most prevalent tackle; (3) good tackle technique as promoted by RugbySmart was demonstrated in 57.9% of all tackles and (4) of the six tackle-related injuries, two occurred despite RugbySmart desired tackle techniques.
Conclusion This is the first study to investigate whether players were performing the recommended ‘safe tackle technique’ proposed by New Zealand Rugby’s RugbySmart programme. As two of six tackle-related injuries occurred despite the RugbySmart preferred technique being performed, further technique analysis and a larger sample are needed to determine what techniques reduce risk of injury during tackles. As only 57.9% of tackles were performed with RugbySmart head and foot positions, further research and education regarding tackle technique recommendations are needed.
- sporting injuries
- preventive medicine
- brain concussion
Data availability statement
Data are available on reasonable request. The dataset for this article is not publicly available, however, requests to access the dataset can be directed to MJH (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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Contributors According to the definition given by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), the authors listed qualify for authorship based on making one or more of the substantial contributions to the intellectual content of the manuscript. ST, MJH, DK and PAH contributed in conception and design. MJH gained ethics. ST acquired the data. ST, MJH, PAH, DK, KT, RK and TY contributed in analysis and interpretation of data. ST, MJH, DK and PAH participated in drafting of the manuscript. ST, MJH, DK, PAH, KT, RK and TY were involved in critical revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content. All authors gave final approval of the version to be published, and all authors are in agreement to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved. Where: ST, DK, TY, MJH, MH and PAH. Guarantor: MJH.
Funding Funding was received from Lincoln University, New Zealand Rugby and the Yokohama Minami Kyousai Hospital Sports Centre.
Competing interests None declared.
Patient and public involvement Patients and/or the public were not involved in the design, or conduct, or reporting, or dissemination plans of this research.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.