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The relationships between rugby union, and health and well-being: a scoping review
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  • Published on:
    Clear in our claims: The mental health promotion conundrum facing rugby union
    • Adam J White, Dr Oxford Brookes University, UK
    • Other Contributors:
      • Joe Piggin, Dr
      • Alan Pearce, Dr

    Considerable attention has focused on the risks of contact sports like rugby union (1), yet the benefits, rewards and opportunities have received less robust analysis. It is for that reason, Griffin et al.’s recent scoping review is a welcome preliminary contribution to our understanding of risk in rugby. There are, however, some concerns that deserve discussion to ensure that cursory readers are not unintentionally misguided by inaccurate claims.

    Claims on mental health and wellbeing

    In their paper, Griffin and colleagues examine the evidence for three contexts of rugby; Contact, non-contact and wheelchair. For mental health, Griffin et al. have stated:

    There is a generally positive relationship between most (emphasis added) forms of rugby union and both (emphasis added) mental health and wellbeing, especially in wheelchair rugby, though further research is required outside of the wheelchair rugby setting.

    They also assert, "Despite relatively fewer studies, the relationship between rugby union and both mental health and well-being is generally positive, especially in non-professional settings" (emphasis added).

    The data

    For the contact rugby context, Griffin et al. cite three studies (3, 4, 5). Each of which evidences elevated levels of common mental health disorders for contact rugby participants in the elite game. No evidence is presented for sevens at any level, the adult amateur community game or youth contact game....

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.