Perceptions of Injury, Risk and Prevention in Youth High School Rugby: Are Coaches Ready for a Neuromuscular Training Injury Prevention Strategy?

Isla Shill, Amanda Black, Craig Barden, Carly McKay, Kati Pasanen, Brent Hagel, Carolyn Emery

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


Objective: To describe coaches’ perceptions of injury, risk and neuromuscular training (NMT) warm-up injury prevention strategies in high school rugby.

Study Design: Cross-sectional study.

Subjects: Eighteen coaches (8 female, 10 male) from the Calgary Senior High School Athletics Association 2019 Rugby League.

Observation Technique: Coaches completed the online SHRed (Surveillance in High Schools to Reduce Injuries and their Consequences) post-season High School Rugby Coach Survey.

Outcome Measures: Coaches’ perceptions of injury, risk and prevention were measured using a Likert scale (1 5 Strongly disagree, 2 5 Disagree, 3 5 Slightly disagree, 4 5 Neither, 5 5 Slightly agree, 6 5 Agree, 7 5 Strongly agree).

Results: Five of 18 (28%) coaches had heard of NMT warm-ups; only 2 (11%) were using NMT warm-ups. However, 83% of coaches would like their team to complete a rugby-specific warm-up program prior to every game and training session. Coaches perceived that concussion (median, range; 7, 4-7) was the most severe injury whereas contusion (2, 1-4) was the least severe. Coaches felt neutral towards players being at a high risk of injury (5, 2-7) and the expectation that one of their players would sustain an injury next season (4, 1- 6). Coaches strongly agreed that it is possible to prevent rugby injuries (7, 5-7), that exercises shown to prevent injuries should be performed by rugby players (7, 6-7) and should be incorporated into school rugby training (6, 1-7). Coaches strongly agreed that completing a rugby-specific warm-up program prior to every game and training session would reduce the risk of player injury (6, 5-7) and improve balance, agility, and strength (7, 5-7). Fifty-nine percent of coaches agreed/strongly agreed that balance exercises could prevent rugby injuries compared with a warm-up jog (50%) and cutting exercises (25%). Additionally, 28% of coaches agreed/ strongly agreed that neck strengthening exercises could prevent concussion.

Conclusions: Coaches perceive concussion to be the most severe rugby injury. They held neutral perceptions towards injury risk in high school rugby, but are receptive to injury prevention strategies. Educating coaches on high school rugby injury risk and evaluating NMT warm-up strategies are needed to improve player safety.
Acknowledgments: The Sport Injury Prevention Research Centre is one of the International Research Centres for Prevention of Injury and Protection of Athlete Health supported by the International Olympic Committee. We acknowledge the funding from Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Alberta Innovates, Hotchkiss Brain Institute, and Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation. We would like to acknowledge the research coordinators, research assistants, school districts and all of teachers, coaches and students involved for their time and support in completing this project.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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