It takes two to tango: high rates of concussion in both ball carriers and tacklers in high school boys’ rugby

Stephen West, Isla J. Shill, Stacy Sick, Kathryn Schneider, J. Preston Wiley, Brent Hagel, Carolyn Emery, Amanda Black

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


Objective: To examine injury and concussion rates, mechanisms, locations, and types of injury in Canadian high school male rugby.

Design: Prospective cohort study.

Setting: High school male rugby.

Participants: A total of 429 high school players (2018: n = 225, 2019: n = 256) were recruited from 12 teams in 7 schools in Calgary, Canada.

Interventions: None.

Main outcome measures: Injury surveillance included baseline questionnaires, weekly exposure, and injury reports. Injuries included those requiring medical attention, resulted in time loss and/or inability to complete a session. Concussion was defined as per the fifth Consensus on Concussion in Sport, and all players with a suspected concussion were referred to a study sport medicine physician.

Results: A total of 134 injuries were captured, leading to an injury incidence rate (IR) of 57.9/1000 hours [95% confidence intervals (CIs): 45.4-73.8]. Median time loss was 6 days (range: 0-90). Injuries to the head were the most common (40%), followed by shoulder (12%) and ankle (10%). The concussion IR was 22.0/1000 hours (95% CIs: 15.9-30.4), which was the most common injury type (38%), followed by sprain (20%) and strain (15%). Sixty-five percent of injuries occurred in the tackle (ball carrier 35%, tackler 30%) and 76% of concussions (ball carrier 41%, tackler 35%).

Conclusions: The rate of injury and concussion in Canadian youth high school male rugby is high, with tackle-related injuries and concussions the most common. Given this, there is a critical need for implementation of prevention strategies, in particular targeting concussion and the tackle event (eg, neuromuscular, tackle training, and law changes).

Copyright © 2023 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
JournalClinical Journal of Sport Medicine
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 12 Jan 2023


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