BACKGROUND: Rugby union is a collision-based ball sport played at the professional level internationally. Rugby union has one of the highest reported incidences of injury of all team sports.
PURPOSE: To identify the characteristics, incidence, and severity of injuries occurring in Australian professional Super Rugby Union.
DESIGN: Descriptive epidemiology study.
METHODS: The present study was a prospective epidemiology study on a cohort of 180 professional players from 5 Australian Super Rugby teams during the 2014 Super Rugby Union Tournament. Team medical staff collected and submitted daily training and match-play injury data through a secure, web-based electronic platform. The injury data included the main anatomic location of the injury, specific anatomic structure of the injury, injury diagnosis, training or match injury occurrence, main player position, mechanism of injury, and the severity of the injury quantified based on the number of days lost from training and/or competition due to injury.
RESULTS: The total combined incidence rate for injury during training and match-play across all Australian Super Rugby Union teams was 6.96 per 1000 hours, with a mean injury severity of 37.45 days lost from training and competition. The match-play injury incidence rate was 66.07 per 1000 hours, with a mean severity of 39.80 days lost from training and competition. No significant differences were observed between forward- and back-playing positions for match or training injury incidence rate or severity.
CONCLUSION: The incidence of injury for the present study was lower during match-play than has previously been reported in professional rugby union; however, the overall time loss was higher compared with previous studies in professional rugby union. The high overall time loss was due fundamentally to a high incidence of injuries with greater than 28 days' severity.