Epidemiological study of injuries in international Rugby Sevens

Clin J Sport Med. 2010 May;20(3):179-84. doi: 10.1097/JSM.0b013e3181df1eea.


Objective: To assess incidence, nature, and causes of injuries sustained in international Rugby Sevens.

Design: Prospective cohort: definitions and procedures were compliant with the consensus statement for epidemiological studies in rugby union.

Setting: 2008/2009 International Rugby Board Sevens World Series (8 tournaments) and Rugby World Cup Sevens 2009.

Participants: Two hundred ninety players, representing 12 countries.

Assessment of risk factors: Injuries sustained as function of playing position and nature, cause, and time of onset.

Main outcome measures: Number, location, diagnosis, severity, and cause of injuries: incidence (injuries/1000 player-hours) and severity (days absence from training/competition) of injuries.

Results: One hundred four injuries were recorded during 578 team games (979.1 player-match hours), which equates to 0.18 injuries per team match, 0.96 injuries per team per tournament, or 106.2 injuries per 1000 player-hours (95% confidence interval, 87.8-128.9). These injuries had a mean severity of 45 days and a median severity of 24 days. The lower limb (70%) and joint (non-bone)/ligament (52%) were the most common site and type of injury. Most match injuries were acute (93%) and resulted from contact (78%) events; being tackled (34%) and running (22%) were the most common causes of injury.

Conclusions: Results indicated that the risk of injury from international Rugby Sevens was higher than that reported for international 15-a-side rugby; in particular, the severity of injury was significantly higher. A need for further research into the reasons for the high average severity of injury and the development of injury prevention strategies for ankle and knee ligament injuries in Rugby Sevens were indicated.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Athletic Injuries / classification
  • Athletic Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Athletic Injuries / physiopathology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Football / injuries*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • New Zealand / epidemiology
  • Trauma Severity Indices
  • Young Adult