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United States Under-19 Rugby-7s: Incidence and Nature of Match Injuries During a 5-year Epidemiological Study

  • Lopez, Victor Jr1, 2, 3, 4, 5
  • Ma, Richard1, 2, 5, 6
  • Weinstein, Meryle G.1, 7
  • Hume, Patria A.2
  • Cantu, Robert C.8, 9, 10, 11, 12
  • Victoria, Christian1, 13
  • Queler, Sophie C.1, 14
  • Webb, Khalil J. A.1, 15
  • Allen, Answorth A.16, 17, 18
  • 1 Rugby Research and Injury Prevention Group, affiliate Hospital for Special Surgery, 118-17 Union Turnpike, Suite 3B, New York, NY, 11375, USA , New York (United States)
  • 2 Auckland University of Technology, Sports Performance Research Institute New Zealand, New Zealand, AUT Millennium, 17 Antares Place, Mairangi Bay, Private Bag 92006, Auckland, 1142, New Zealand , Auckland (New Zealand)
  • 3 USA Rugby Empire Geographic Union RFUs, Bowling Green Station, New York, NY, 10274, USA , New York (United States)
  • 4 USA Rugby New England Geographic Union RFU, 2193 Commonwealth Ave, Brighton, MA, 02135, USA , Brighton (United States)
  • 5 Northeast Rugby Academy, USA Rugby Development Program and USOC-Community Olympic Development Program, New York, NY, USA , New York (United States)
  • 6 University of Missouri, Missouri Orthopaedic Institute & Thompson Laboratory for Regenerative Orthopaedics, Columbia, MO, USA , Columbia (United States)
  • 7 New York University, Department of Applied Statistics, Social Sciences, and Humanities, New York, NY, USA , New York (United States)
  • 8 Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA, USA , Boston (United States)
  • 9 Emerson Hospital, Concord, MA, USA , Concord (United States)
  • 10 Neurologic Sports Injury Center, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, MA, USA , Boston (United States)
  • 11 Concussion Legacy Foundation, Waltham, MA, USA , Waltham (United States)
  • 12 World Rugby, Independent Concussion Group, Dublin, Ireland , Dublin (Ireland)
  • 13 New York University, College of Global Public Health, New York, NY, USA , New York (United States)
  • 14 Tulane University, New Orleans, LA, USA , New Orleans (United States)
  • 15 University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, USA , Tucson (United States)
  • 16 Sports Medicine Institute, Hospital for Special Surgery, New York, NY, USA , New York (United States)
  • 17 National Basketball Association, New York Knickerbockers, New York, NY, USA , New York (United States)
  • 18 USA Basketball, Colorado Springs, CO, USA , Colorado Springs (United States)
Published Article
Sports Medicine - Open
Springer International Publishing
Publication Date
Aug 27, 2020
DOI: 10.1186/s40798-020-00261-y
Springer Nature


BackgroundThere is a lack of injury data for the new Olympic sport of Rugby-7s, particularly for involved youth.ObjectiveTo determine injury rates and characteristics for players participating in U.S. Rugby-7s U19 (under 19 years of age) tournaments.MethodsInjury data were collected, using the Rugby Injury Survey & Evaluation report methodology, at 24 U.S. Rugby-7 s U19 tournaments over 30 tournament days (2010–2014). Tournament medical-attention injuries and time-loss injuries (days absent before return to training/competition including post tournament) were recorded.ResultsDuring the 2101 playing hours (3072 males, aged 17.2 ± 1.5 years; 732 females, 16.6 ± 1.3 years of age), there were 173 tournament injuries with an overall injury incidence of 82.4/1000 player-match-hours (ph) (CI 70.5–95.6). Acute injuries (79.5/1000 ph) occurred during tackling (56.2/1000 ph) and involved joints/ligaments (32.8/1000 ph) of lower extremities (31.9/1000 ph). Head and neck injuries, including concussions, were common (males 21.9/1000 ph; females 22.0/1000 ph). Medical-attention injury incidences (49.5/1000 ph; n = 104; 95% CI 40.5–60.0) were higher than time loss (32.8/1000 ph; n = 69; 95% CI 25.5–41.6). Overall, injury incidences found no difference between sex (RR 0.78; p = 0.369). Time-loss injuries resulted in an average of 35.5 d to return to sport.DiscussionThis study is the first to report match injury incidences for U19 participants in Rugby-7s. Overall, match injury incidence among U.S. U19 Rugby-7s tournaments was similar compared to adult U.S. community Rugby-7s. Recurrent injury risk was notable in this population. Community injury surveillance studies are essential to understand risk from participation in amateur sports. Knowledge of these injury patterns in U19 Rugby-7s will help identify areas to direct resources to enable growth of Rugby-7s in youths and emerging countries being exposed to Rugby-7 s. Age-based injury frequency and patterns in rugby and its various formats are needed for the development of evidence-based, sport-specific, and population-specific injury prevention initiatives.ConclusionsThe match injury incidence of U19 participants in U.S. Rugby-7s was similar to the incidence among adult participants. Recurrent match injury risk was high at 23%. There were no significant differences in injury incidences between males and females. The first three matches of a tournament day result in the most injuries.

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