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Rugby World Cup 2019 injury surveillance study

C.W. Fuller
A. Taylor
M. Douglas
M. Raftery


Background: Full contact team sports, such as rugby union, have high incidences of injury. Injury surveillance studies underpin player welfare programmes in rugby union.
Objective: To determine the incidence, severity, nature and causes of injuries sustained during the Rugby World Cup 2019.
Methods: A prospective, whole population study following the definitions and procedures recommended in the consensus statement for epidemiologic studies in rugby union. Output measures included players’ age (years), stature (cm), body mass (kg), playing position, and group-level incidence (injuries/1000 player-hours), severity (days-absence), injury burden (days absence/1000 player-hours), location (%), type (%) and inciting event (%) of injuries.
Results: Overall incidences of injury were 79.4 match injuries/1000 player-match-hours (95% CI: 67.4 to 93.6) and 1.5 training injuries/1000 player-training-hours (95% CI: 1.0 to 2.3). The overall mean severity of injury was 28.9 (95% CI: 20.0 to 37.8) days absence during matches and 14.8 (95% CI: 4.1 to 25.5) days absence during training. The most common locations and types of match injuries were head/face (22.4%), posterior thigh (12.6%), ligament sprain (21.7%) and muscle strain (20.3%); the ankle (24.0%), posterior thigh (16.0%), muscle strain (44.0%) and ligament sprain (16.0%) were the most common locations and types of injuries during training. Tackling (28.7%), collisions (16.9%) and running (16.9%) were responsible for most match injuries and non-contact (36.0%) and contact (32.0%) rugby skills activities for training injuries.
Conclusion: The incidence, severity, nature and inciting events associated with match and training injuries at Rugby World Cup 2019 were similar to those reported for Rugby World Cups 2007, 2011 and 2015.

Keywords: Rugby World Cup, injury incidence, injury severity, injury burden, injury risk

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eISSN: 2078-516X
print ISSN: 1015-5163