by Taron van der Berg
As knowledge about obesity and type-two diabetes increases; more and more people have started making better choices regarding their health and fitness. Many people are going to the gym and playing sport to stay fit and healthy. Unfortunately, this can lead to more injuries amongst the population. Injuries are particularly bad amid professional athletes as their training intensity is much higher and more frequent. According to Sean Williams and his colleagues, the incidence of rugby injuries is 81 per 1,000 player-hours in senior men’s’ professional rugby union matches. The higher the level that at which rugby players compete, the greater the incidence of injury during matches (Williams, S., Trewartha, G., Kemp, S. and Stokes, K., 2013.). One way to develop injury prevention strategies is to study how the injury occurs.
Professor Caroline Finch describes a model, known as the Translating Research into Injury Prevention Practice framework (TRIPP), on how to transform research on injury into real-world injury prevention applications (Finch, C., 2006).
- Injury surveillance
- Establish aetiology and mechanisms of the injury.
- Develop preventative measures
- Evaluate the preventative measure in ideal conditions/scientific evaluation
- Describe intervention context to inform implementation strategies
- Evaluate effectiveness of preventative measures in implementation context
An example of researchers applying the TRIPP model is a study done at the University of Cape Town (Burger, N., Lambert, M., Viljoen, W., Brown, J., Readhead, C., den Hollander, S. and Hendricks, S., 2016). Dr Nicholas Burger and his associates looked at tackle related injuries in under 18 youth rugby players during the the Craven week rugby tournament. Injury surveillance along with video footage of matches were captured for three years. This combination of injury surveillance and video allowed Burger et al. (2016) to classify tackle injuries and to observe why, how and when they occurred.
The main research findings are as follows : –
Firstly, injury risk was higher in the third and fourth quarter compared to the first quarter, most likely due to fatigue. Secondly, players were less likely to be injured if they were aware of the arriving contact. Finally, tacklers were less likely to be injured when performing shoulder tackles rather than arm tackles.
To prevent tackle injuries in the future, especially in youth athletes, Burger et al. (2016) suggested implementing recovery strategies between matches, teaching safe and effective training techniques and improve the physical conditioning of players to counter the negative effects of fatigue. This study used a sample of high level under 18 players, further research is required at the senior and professional levels.
Burger, N., Lambert, M., Viljoen, W., Brown, J., Readhead, C., den Hollander, S. and Hendricks, S., 2016. Mechanisms and Factors Associated with Tackle-Related Injuries in South African Youth Rugby Union Players. The American Journal of Sports Medicine, 45(2), pp.278-285.
Finch, C., 2006. A new framework for research leading to sports injury prevention. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 9(1-2), pp.3-9.
Williams, S., Trewartha, G., Kemp, S. and Stokes, K., 2013. A Meta-Analysis of Injuries in Senior Men’s Professional Rugby Union. Sports Medicine, 43(10), pp.1043-1055.