Physical collisions and injury in professional rugby league match-play

Gabbett, Tim J. and Jenkins, David G. and Abernethy, Bruce (2011) Physical collisions and injury in professional rugby league match-play. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 14 (3). pp. 210-215. ISSN 1440-2440


Objective: To document the frequency of physical collisions and incidence of contact injury in professional rugby league match-play. Design: Prospective cohort study. Methods: Video recordings of 77 National Rugby League (NRL) matches were coded for the number and type of physical collisions in which players were involved. Each match was analysed and coded for defensive (i.e. tackles, missed tackles, and ineffective tackles) and attacking collisions (i.e. tackled in possession, broken tackles, offloads, support runs, and decoy runs). Injuries that occurred as a result of a physical collision were also recorded. Results: The total number of physical collisions performed per game was greatest in the wide running forwards (47 [95% CI, 42-52]), and was significantly greater (P<0.05) than the hit-up forwards (36 [95% CI, 32-40]), adjustables (29 [95% CI, 26-32]), and outside backs (24 [95% CI, 22-27]) positional groups. A total of 48 collision injuries were sustained, resulting in an overall injury incidence of 10.6 (95% CI, 7.6-13.6) per 10,000 collisions. Injuries resulting from attacking collisions were consistently higher than injuries sustained in defensive collisions. Wide running forwards had the lowest incidence of injury, and the adjustables and outside backs had the highest incidence of injury. Conclusions: These results highlight the physical demands associated with collisions and tackles in professional rugby league. Furthermore, the results of this study suggest that playing position and the type of collision sustained have a greater influence over contact injury risk in rugby league than the number of physical collisions performed.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Published version cannot be displayed due to copyright restrictions.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Date Deposited: 22 May 2017 04:36
Last Modified: 22 May 2017 04:36
Uncontrolled Keywords: conditioning; contact sport; injury rate; physical demands; team sport; public health, social medicine and epidemiology; rehabilitation and physical medicine; orthopedic surgery; injury
Fields of Research (2008): 11 Medical and Health Sciences > 1106 Human Movement and Sports Science > 110699 Human Movement and Sports Science not elsewhere classified
Fields of Research (2020): 42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4207 Sports science and exercise > 420799 Sports science and exercise not elsewhere classified
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): C Society > 92 Health > 9299 Other Health > 929999 Health not elsewhere classified
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