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Epidemiological Study of Injuries in International Rugby Sevens

Fuller, Colin W PhD*; Taylor, Aileen MSc*; Molloy, Michael G MB

Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine: May 2010 - Volume 20 - Issue 3 - p 179-184
doi: 10.1097/JSM.0b013e3181df1eea
Original Research

Objective: To assess incidence, nature, and causes of injuries sustained in international Rugby Sevens.

Design: Prospective cohort: definitions and procedures were compliant with the consensus statement for epidemiological studies in rugby union.

Setting: 2008/2009 International Rugby Board Sevens World Series (8 tournaments) and Rugby World Cup Sevens 2009.

Participants: Two hundred ninety players, representing 12 countries.

Assessment of risk factors: Injuries sustained as function of playing position and nature, cause, and time of onset.

Main outcome measures: Number, location, diagnosis, severity, and cause of injuries: incidence (injuries/1000 player-hours) and severity (days absence from training/competition) of injuries.

Results: One hundred four injuries were recorded during 578 team games (979.1 player-match hours), which equates to 0.18 injuries per team match, 0.96 injuries per team per tournament, or 106.2 injuries per 1000 player-hours (95% confidence interval, 87.8-128.9). These injuries had a mean severity of 45 days and a median severity of 24 days. The lower limb (70%) and joint (non-bone)/ligament (52%) were the most common site and type of injury. Most match injuries were acute (93%) and resulted from contact (78%) events; being tackled (34%) and running (22%) were the most common causes of injury.

Conclusions: Results indicated that the risk of injury from international Rugby Sevens was higher than that reported for international 15-a-side rugby; in particular, the severity of injury was significantly higher. A need for further research into the reasons for the high average severity of injury and the development of injury prevention strategies for ankle and knee ligament injuries in Rugby Sevens were indicated.

From the *Centre for Sports Medicine, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, United Kingdom; and †International Rugby Board, Dublin, Ireland.

Submitted for publication October 11, 2009; accepted March 18, 2010.

The authors report no conflict of interest.

Reprints: Colin W. Fuller, PhD, Centre for Sports Medicine, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, NG7 2UH United Kindom (e-mail:

© 2010 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.