Rugby-7s is an Olympic global collision sport played among both genders, with a high injury rate (107-188 injuries/1000 player hours (ph) (Cruz-Ferreira A, Cruz-Ferreira E, Santiago L & Taborda-Barata L, 2016; Fuller CW, Taylor A, & Molloy MG, 2010; Gabb N, Trewartha G, Kemp S, & Stokes KA, 2014). Rugby-7s is growing in popularity, however, there is limited understanding of its match injuries and mechanisms particularly in the expanding U.S. population (Lopez et al., 2012, 2014, 2016).
Due to the tackling and collision nature of Rugby-7s and its influence in injury, contact is of concern (Cruz-Ferreira et al., 2016, Fuller et al., 2010, Lopez et al., 2012). Providing a profile of the injury rates found with contact biomechanisms among various risk factors in rugby-7s, would allow areas to be evaluated for injury prevention and translation of the sports injury prevention cascade.
A prospective epidemiological study on U.S. men’s Rugby-7s players match injury incidence and contact mechanisms as risk factors were determined using the Rugby Injury Survey & Evaluation (RISE) report methodology (Lopez et al., 2012, 2014). Injury data were collected from 26,334 U19 to elite U.S. men players (age: 13-54 years) on 2,174 teams involving 4,768 matches in 67 USA Rugby-sanctioned tournaments (94 days) over 2010-2015.
Overall contact injuries (72%) occurred similarly to time-loss (75%; P<0.001). Overall contact injuries among positions were frequent (backs=65%; forwards=35%; P<0.001). Overall, direct contact injuries (59%) occurred more often than indirect causes (31%; P<0.001). Severity from contact injuries was similar between positions (backs=42.1 days; forwards=36 days; P=0.387). Most injuries occurred during the tackle (81%), with another player (86%%). Ligament (35%) and muscle (29%) injuries were frequent.
The results of this study provide much needed data on Rugby-7s in emerging countries, such as the U.S. While our rates of direct contact injuries were less than international cohorts, our proportion of head/neck injuries are higher than those reported in international cohorts. Understanding contact injuries are key for developing biomechanical-based injury prevention protocols.
The impact of this data, will provide pilot data on these biomechanical injury concerns in North America, and may define if they are symptomatic to regionally or, of the expanding and developing rugby markets overall.