The Association Between Pitch Conditions and the Incidence of Injury in Rugby
Background: Environmental conditions have been shown to influence incidence of rugby injuries. Harsh weather conditions and detrimental effect on poor Kenyan rugby pitches create a unique environment for injury exposure. We conducted a whole population prospective cohort study to determine the association of pitch conditions with injury incidence and severity.
Methods: The study was conducted on 364 registered Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) players throughout the 2010 15-aside season. The injury incidence was calculated as injuries per 1000 match player hours (mph). Pitches were categorized into good and suboptimal based on quality indicators of ground characteristics. Injuries were defined and recorded according to the Rugby International Consensus Group (RICG) protocol and compared between the pitches.
Results: One hundred and two injuries were recorded in 60 league games (2400 mph). Twenty nine of the 60 league games were played in the category B (suboptimal condition) pitches. The overall incidence of injuries was 42.50/1000mph. Good pitches had an injury of 29.0 injuries/1000mph (95% CI 0.81- 1.61) compared to 56.9 injuries/1000mph (95% CI 1.76- 2.90) for suboptimal pitches.
Conclusion: Although the overall Kenyan injury rate is comparable to the amateur level incidence from other studies, the higher rate associated with suboptimal pitches suggests interventions that can target pitch optimization.
Keywords: Injury rate, Ground conditions, Rugby, Kenya.