The Effect of Experience Levels on Injury Rates in Collegiate Rugby Players

in International Journal of Athletic Therapy and Training
Francesca A. Harvey ATC, MSAT*,1 and Eric Schussler PhD, ATC, PT, CSCS*,2
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  • 1 Barton College
  • | 2 Old Dominion University
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Due to increasing rugby participation in the United States, understanding the factors affecting injury rate during participation have gained in importance. The primary objective of this research is to determine the effect of experience on injury rate in collegiate union rugby. Forty-three participants (23 men and 20 women) from the club rugby team participated over the course of one season. Injury data were analyzed by high (3+) and low (<3) seasons of experience. Twenty-four unique injuries were identified for an overall rate of 36.14 injuries per 1,000 exposures. Females with low experience (n = 14) had a rate of 47.34/1,000 exposures; females with high experience (n = 19) had a rate of 34.38/1,000 exposures. Males with low experience (n = 10) had a rate of 28.57/1,000 exposures; males with high experience (n = 13) had a rate of 42.06/1,000 exposures. Inexperienced female participants and experienced male participants showed higher rate of injury during rugby play. Identifying this at-risk group can aid coaches and responsible health care providers in making safer training and game play decisions.

Harvey is with the Athletics Department, Barton College, Wilson, NC, USA. Schussler is with the School of Rehabilitation Sciences, Physical Therapy, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA, USA.

Schussler (eschussl@odu.edu) is corresponding author.
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