The aim of this meta-analysis was to summarise existing literature relating to injuries in professional Rugby Union, and to determine the effect of factors such as playing level, playing position and match quarter.
The results confirm that incidence rates in professional Rugby Union can be considered high in comparison to some team sports (e.g. soccer), but are similar to other collision sports (e.g. rugby league and ice hockey).
The incidence rate in the first quarter of matches was substantially lower than other match periods, suggesting that fatigue may have an important role to play in match injury risk.
Around 12% of injuries were recurrences, and these were typically more severe than new injuries.However, it should be noted that no studies have directly compared the severity of recurrent injuries to their index injuries; it may be that some types of injury are more likely to reoccur, and if these tend to result in substantial time-loss then the recurrent injury severity figure may be skewed. This warrants investigation in future studies.
Injuries most commonly occur during the tackle, and the lower limb is the body region with the highest injury incidence; both of these areas may be targets for future injury prevention strategies.
This summary was written by the first author of the paper, Sean Williams.
You can find the full article http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s40279-013-0078-1
Sean Williams is a rugby science postgraduate student at the University of Bath, in the Department of Sport, Health and Exercise Science for Health.