A video analysis of head injuries satisfying the criteria for a head injury assessment in professional Rugby Union: a prospective cohort study

Objectives: Concussion is the most common match injury in professional Rugby Union, accounting for 25% of match injuries. The primary prevention of head injuries requires that the injury mechanism be known so that interventions can be targeted to specifically overall incidence by focusing on characteristics with the greatest propensity to cause a head injury. Methods: 611 head injury assessment (HIA) events in professional Rugby Union over a 3-year period were analysed, with specific reference to match events, position, time and nature of head contact. Results: 464 (76%) of HIA events occur during tackles, with the tackler experiencing a significantly greater propensity for an HIA than the ball carrier (1.40 HIAs/1000 tackles for the tackler vs 0.54 HIAs/1000 tackles for the ball carrier, incidence rate ratio (IRR) 2.59). Propensity was significantly greater for backline players than forwards (IRR 1.54, 95%?CI 1.28 to 1.84), but did not increase over the course of the match. Head to head contact accounted for the most tackler HIAs, with the greatest propensity. Conclusions: By virtue of its high propensity and frequency, the tackle should be the focus for interventions that may include law change and technique education. A specific investigation of the characteristics of the tackle is warranted to refine the approach to preventative strategies.
© Copyright 2017 British Journal of Sports Medicine. BMJ Publishing Group Ltd of the BMA. All rights reserved.

Subjects: rugby competition analysis injury prevention technique head
Notations: biological and medical sciences training science sport games
DOI: 10.1136/bjsports-2017-097883
Published in: British Journal of Sports Medicine
Published: 2017
Volume: 51
Issue: 15
Pages: 1147-1151
Document types: article
Language: English
Level: advanced