The influence of in-season training loads on injury risk in professional rugby union

Matthew J. Cross, Sean Williams, Grant Trewartha, Simon P. T. Kemp, Keith A. Stokes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

86 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

PURPOSE: To explore the association between in-season training load measures and injury risk in professional Rugby Union players. Methods This was a one-season prospective cohort study of 173 Professional Rugby Union players from four English Premiership teams. Training load (duration x session-RPE) and time-loss injuries were recorded for all players for all pitch and gym based sessions. Generalised estimating equations were used to model the association between in-season training load measures and injury risk in the subsequent week.RESULTS: Injury risk increased linearly with one-week loads and week-to-week changes in loads, with a 2 standard deviation (SD) increase in these variables (1245 AU and 1069 AU, respectively) associated with odds ratios of 1.68 (95% CI 1.05-2.68) and 1.58 (95% CI: 0.98-2.54). When compared with the reference group (<3684 AU), a significant non-linear effect was evident for four-week cumulative loads, with a likely beneficial reduction in injury risk associated with intermediate loads of 5932 to 8651 AU (OR: 0.55, 95% CI: 0.22-1.38) (this range equates to around four weeks of average in-season training load), and a likely harmful effect evident for higher loads of >8651 AU (OR: 1.39, 95% CI: 0.98-1.98).CONCLUSIONS: Players had an increased risk of injury if they had high one-week cumulative loads (1245 AU), or large week-to-week changes in load (1069 AU). In addition, a 'U-shaped' relationship was observed for four-week cumulative loads, with an apparent increase in risk associated with higher loads (>8651 AU). These measures should therefore be monitored to inform injury risk reduction strategies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)350-355
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
Volume11
Issue number3
Early online date26 Aug 2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2016

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