Affiliations: Anatomy Department, Biomedical Sciences Building, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland | School of Physiotherapy, Trinity Centre for Health Sciences, Dublin, Ireland | Department of Human Sciences, St Mary's College, Twickenham, Middlesex, UK
Note:  Corresponding author: Dominic Farnan, School of Medicine, Anatomy Department, Parse Street, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin 2, Ireland. Tel.: +353 877550904; E-mail: [email protected]
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Studies of sports injury in Irish amateur sport are rare. RESEARCH QUESTION: To determine the injury incidence rates (IR) and severity in male amateur rugby and soccer. TYPE OF STUDY: A 3-month prospective observational study of collegiate rugby players (n = 54; M ± SD age 21 ± 2 yr, body mass 88.1 ± 10.7 kg, height 1.83 ± 0.52 m, body mass index 26 ± 2.6 kg.m−2) and soccer players (n = 21; M ± SD age 21 ± 2 yr, body mass 75.9 ± 8.0 kg, height 1.80 ± 0.57 m and body mass index 23 ± 1.9 Kg.m−2). METHODS: Fortnightly questionnaires detailing training and match exposure (hr) and injury status were completed under supervision, response rate was 92.7%. The study employed a time-loss injury definition. Injuries were examined by a physiotherapist, a mean ± SD time of 4.6 ± 4.3 days after onset. RESULTS: Subjects spent 2967.5 hr in training and 623.1 hr playing competitive matches. Sixty six injuries were recorded during the observation period (soccer, n = 15; rugby, n = 51). Match and training IR for soccer were 49.3 (95% CI 21.4 to 77.3) and 7.1 (95% CI 0 to 15.1) per 1000 hr and for rugby were 99.5 (95% CI 67.8 to 131.1) and 5.1 (95% CI 2.3 to 7.9) per 1000 hr, respectively. All injury types were more common in matches. In soccer, ankle sprains (ligament injury) had the highest IR, 16.5 per 1000 hr match-play (95% CI 0.3 to 32.6). In rugby acromioclavicular joint sprains had the highest IR (injury incidence rate), 15.7 per 1000 hr match-play (95% CI 3.1 to 28.3). CONCLUSION: The risk of injury in collegiate soccer and rugby is substantial, particularly in competitive matches. Rugby poses a greater risk of injury than soccer. Injury prevention strategies targeting ankle sprains in soccer, shoulder and knee sprains in rugby, and hamstring strains (muscle injury) in both sports are recommended.