The influence of environmental factors on rugby football injuries

J Sports Sci. 2000 Feb;18(2):91-5. doi: 10.1080/026404100365153.


The aim of this study was to establish the influence of weather and pitch conditions on the frequency and nature of rugby injuries. Observers at 26 senior rugby clubs in the Borders District of the Scottish Rugby Union reported all injuries to 1169 (96%) registered players at Saturday home and away matches during the 1993-94 season (August 1993 to April 1994). Weather and pitch conditions at 112 grounds were recorded on 605 occasions; 1268 Borders teams played at these grounds, with 344 injury episodes being sustained. Matches were played in dry weather for three-quarters of these occasions. There was a moderate association between weather and the state of the pitch (Spearman's rank correlation, r = -0.46, P < 0.001), with heavier pitches occurring in wetter weather. Logistic regression revealed that there were significant month-of-season (P = 0.003), wind strength (P = 0.008) and temperature (P = 0.011) effects on the risk of injury. On four of five occasions when matches were played in a downpour of rain, at least one injury episode occurred. Our results show that the month of the season and the weather may influence the occurrence of rugby injuries, but that the state of the pitch does not. Further studies are required to investigate these factors in more detail.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Athletic Injuries / epidemiology
  • Athletic Injuries / etiology*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Environmental Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Football / injuries*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Injury Severity Score
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Seasons
  • Temperature
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology
  • Weather