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Injury risk in rugby union

Summary of an article looking at insurance claims filed on injuries related to rugby union.

Who

Rugby players aged 5-40 years (New Zealand).

6,335,657 rugby injury claims were filed between 2005 and 2017.

Rugby uniona contact team sport with 15 players, played in 120 countries.

Design

Analysis of insurance claims filed to the ACC (Accident Compensation Corporation) in New Zealand.

Outcome measures

Injuries related to rugby union.

Main results

  • For females: the probability of filing the claim increased from 0.4% (age 5) to 58-64% (ages 22-40). The biggest jumps in probability were between the ages of 12 and 13 (8%), between 13 and 14 (9%), and between 18 and 19 (10%). Female players aged 31-40 had the highest claim rate of 930 injury claims per 1000 players per year.
  • For males: the probability of filing the claim increased from 1% (age 5) to pick at 58% (early-mid 20s). The biggest jumps in probability were between the ages of 12 and 13 (7%), and between 16 and 17 (9%). Male players aged 21-30 had the highest claim rate of 832 injury claims per 1000 players per year.
  • Injury types:
    • soft tissue 76%
    • fracture/dislocation 10%
    • laceration 6%
    • concussion 2%
    • dental 2%
  • Body regions injured:
    • shoulder 14%
    • knee 14%
    • neck/spine 13%
    • wrist/hand 13%
    • head/face 12%
    • leg 11%
    • ankle 10%
    • arm/elbow 5%
    • trunk 4%
    • foot/toe 3%

Take home message

For a clinician
The most common injury type claimed by rugby players was soft tissue injury. The most injured body region was a shoulder, followed by a knee.
For a parent
Soft tissue injuries were the reason for most insurance claims. Shoulder and knee were the most commonly injured body regions.
For an athlete
If you are a rugby player, shoulder and knee regions are at most risk of an injury.

Original article

Quarrie K, Gianotti S, Murphy I. Injury risk in New Zealand rugby union: a nationwide study of injury insurance claims from 2005 to 2017. Sports medicine. 2020 Feb 1;50(2):415-28.

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