Objective: The aim of this study was to summarise the injury rates in professional rugby league football.
Methods: Previously published studies were identified from database searches of the literature from Medline, Sports Discus and Web of Science. A total of 18 articles, which reported the prospective injury data collection for at least one playing season in professional rugby league worldwide, were included. The definition of injury adopted required an injured player to miss the subsequent game through injury. Ten studies satisfied the injury definition criteria for inclusion. A review of articles and extraction of relevant data were carried out independently by two authors.
Results: A total of 517 injuries were reported during 12819 hours of exposure (753 games), which resulted in an overall injury rate of 40.3 injuries per 1000 hours [95% confidence interval (CI) 36.9 to 43.8]. Most injuries were to the lower half of the body (20.7 per 1000 hours, 95% CI 17.7 to 24), with the trunk receiving the least (6.7 per 1000 hours, 95% CI 5 to 8.6).
Conclusions: Injury rates in professional rugby league are higher than in some other contact sports, probably because of the large number of physical collisions that take place. This pooled data analysis provides more accurate estimates of injury incidence in the game of professional rugby league football.