Objective: The purpose of this study was to identify all injuries to members of an elite women's rugby team and to compare these injuries with published data on injuries in other women's contact and collision sports.
Design: This was a prospective cohort observational study conducted using a monthly log completed by the team's certified athletic therapist to closely monitor attendance at practices and games along with the type and severity of injuries.
Setting: Rugby games and practices held in Ontario, Quebec, and the Netherlands.
Participants: Forty members of the Ontario Women's Senior Provincial Rugby Team over the 1997 season and the 1998 World Championships.
Main outcome measures: An injury was defined as a rugby-related event that kept a player out of practice or competition for >24 hours or required the attention of a physician (e.g., suturing lacerations) and in addition included all dental, eye, and nerve injuries and concussions.
Results: There were a total of 35 injuries in 4,958 player-hours and 2,926 athletic exposures. This resulted in a rugby injury rate of 7.1+/-0.4 per 1,000 player-hours and 12.0+/-2 per 1,000 athletic exposures.
Conclusion: The incidence of injuries in women's rugby is comparable with that in other women's contact and collision sports, indicating that the sport may be safer than stated in the literature and media.