Incidence and nature of medical attendance injuries in English community rugby union: Rugby union medical attendance injuries

Simon Roberts, Keith Stokes, Grant Trewartha, Michael England

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Background: Previous research has identified injury patterns during community-level rugby union match play, but none have investigated the frequency and reasons for on-field injury management. Purpose: To establish the frequency, reasons, and patterns of on-field injury management in English community rugby, including differences between different levels of play. Study design: Descriptive epidemiology study. Methods Over 3 seasons, injury information was collected from 46 (2009/10), 67 (2010/11), and 76 (2011/12) English community clubs (RFU levels 3-9). Club injury management staff reported information for all medical attendances during match play, including details on the anatomy injured and type of injury, playing position (seasons 2010/11 and 2011/12 only), and whether the player was removed from play. Clubs were subdivided into groups A (levels 3 and 4, mainly semiprofessional; n = 39), B (5 and 6, mainly amateur; n = 71) and C (7, 8, and 9, social and recreational; n = 79) to differentiate playing levels. Results: The overall medical attendance incidence was 229 per 1000 player match hours (95% CI, 226-232), with 45 players removed per 1000 player match hours (95% CI, 44-46). Attendance incidence for group A (294 per 1000 player match hours; 95% CI, 287-301) was higher compared with group B (213; 95% CI, 208-218; P < .001) and C (204; 95% CI, 200-209; P < .001). There was a higher incidence of attendances to forwards (254; 95% CI, 249-259) compared with backs (191; 95% CI, 187-196; P < .001). The head was the most common specific site of injury (55 per 1000 player match hours; 95% CI, 53-57) but the lower limb region overall accounted for most attendances (87; 95% CI, 85-89) and the greatest chance of removal from the pitch (22; 95% CI, 21-23). Conclusion: With the likelihood of 1 injury for each team per match severe enough for the player to leave the pitch and with at least 1 attendance for a head injury per match, there is clear evidence that pitch side staff should be trained to recognize potentially serious injuries.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)47-54
Number of pages8
JournalOrthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2014


  • Epidemiology
  • Sports Medicine
  • injury surveillance


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