Incidence of concussion in men’s super league, championship, and academy rugby league matches between 2016 and 2022

David Eastwood, Cameron Owen, Gemma Phillips, Sean Williams, James C. Brown, Andrew Gardner, Sharief Hendricks, Rich Johnston, Keith Stokes, Daniel Tadmor, Kevin Till, Sarah Whitehead, Ben Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (SciVal)


Objectives: To quantify the incidence of concussion and compare between playing levels in male rugby league. Design: Retrospective cohort. Methods: Between 2016 and 2022, medically diagnosed concussions in Super League, Championship, and Academy competitions were reported to the Rugby Football League via club medical staff. Anonymised data were analysed using generalised linear mixed-effects models by season, month, and between competitions. Results: Overall, 1403 concussions were identified from 104,209 player-match hours. Concussion incidence for Super League, Championship, and Academy was 15.5, 10.5, and 14.3 per 1000 player-match hours, respectively. Championship concussion incidence was significantly lower than the Super League (p < 0.001) and Academy (p < 0.001). No significant differences were identified between years for Super League (range: 13.3 to 18.8 per 1000 player-match hours) and Championship (range: 8.4 to 12.1 per 1000 player-match hours). In Academy (range: 9.6 to 20.5 per 1000 player-match hours), concussion incidence was significantly greater in 2021 compared to earlier years (2016, p = 0.01 and 2017, p = 0.03). No significant differences were identified between months for any competition. Conclusions: The incidence of concussion is greater in Super League and Academy compared to the Championship. Academy concussion incidence has increased over time. Different factors between and within competitions, such as changes to medical standards and knowledge, could have influenced the identification and diagnosis of concussion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)539-544
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Science and Medicine in Sport
Issue number10
Early online date6 Sept 2023
Publication statusPublished - 25 Oct 2023

Bibliographical note

Data Availability.
The datasets (deidentified participant data) generated during and/or analysed are available from the corresponding author on request.

Funding Information.
This project was not funded.


  • Brain injury
  • Contact sport
  • Epidemiology
  • Injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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