n African Journal for Physical Health Education, Recreation and Dance - Cumulative Mild Head Injury (CMHI) in schoolboy rugby players injury

Volume 21 Number 1.1
  • ISSN : 1117-4315


Sport participation as a form of exercise is considered essential for adolescent boys and encouraging involvement in sport or physical activity is important for physical and social development. Participation in sport is associated with the risk of sports - related injuries particularly in contact sports such as rugby. Traditionally the game is seen as promoting teamwork and discipline. The knowledge that cognitive damage can occur in contact sports is problematic as adolescent boys are encouraged to achieve in both the academic and sporting arenas. A quasi-experimental survey design was utilised for the study. A final sample of twenty six schoolboy rugby players and fourteen non-contact sport controls (schoolboy hockey players) was utilised. The age of the sample ranged between fifteen and eighteen years (SD = 2.61 years). Data were analysed by comparing the cognitive profiles of the rugby players with the hockey group and rugby forwards and rugby backline players, mean reaction times and standard deviations (SD) were also reported. A chi-square test was used to test the study hypotheses. The results of the study do not support findings from previous research which indicates that concussive injury and repeated concussions (Cumulative Mild Head Injury - CMHI) incur cognitive deficits in schoolboy rugby players, particularly the forwards. An unexpected finding was the Hockey group had slower mean reaction times post-season than the rugby group. Recommendations were that a more comprehensive study is undertaken and that hockey, at school level, should incorporate reaction time and speed drills into training programmes.

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