n International SportMed Journal - Epidemiology of acute injuries in schoolboy rugby




A review of presentations to an Australian private school's Saturday-match casualty station, consistently collected over 30 years, reveals a relatively low and constant rate of acute injuries. A review of other surveys of acute rugby injuries at higher levels of competition suggests that the risk of injury increases with age, grade, and competitive level. This contradicts somewhat the commonly accepted wisdom that increased player size, preparation, and skill are the most effective protection against injury. As strategies to improve player safety develop and improve, efforts might be more wisely focused on approaches that have proven more effective, such as those aimed at reducing the forces experienced in impacts. Reduction and stabilization of the forces in scrums, ruck, and mauls have shown to be effective in reducing injury, particularly for spinal cord injury at junior levels. Systematic evaluation of rule modifications that would further reduce the forces of impact experienced in scrums, such as successive scrum engagement (ie, front-row engage, followed by second then back rows), and in tackles, such as reducing the number of players on field or the number allowed to tackle 1 player, is required.


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