Physical collisions and injury during professional rugby league skills training

J Sci Med Sport. 2010 Nov;13(6):578-83. doi: 10.1016/j.jsams.2010.03.007. Epub 2010 May 18.


This study described the number and intensity of collisions experienced by professional rugby league players during pre-season and in-season skills training sessions using microtechnology (e.g. accelerometers, gyroscopes). Short, medium, and long recovery periods between matches were accounted for and the incidence of collision injuries sustained in the training environment was also assessed. Thirty professional rugby league players (mean±SD age, 23.6±3.8yr) participated in this study. The number and intensity of collisions and the incidence of collision injuries were monitored during 117 skills training sessions. Over the course of the season, an average of 77 collisions occurred per player, per session. The average number of mild, moderate, and heavy collisions performed by each member of the squad per session was 24, 46, and 7, respectively. A total of 37 collision injuries were recorded during training over the season, equating to an injury incidence of 6.4 per 10,000 collisions. Over half (54.1%) of all collision injuries resulted in no loss of training time, and less than 14% of collision injuries resulted in a missed match. The greatest number of collisions occurred during training sessions in the weeks with the longest recovery between matches (10 days). The incidence of collision injuries also peaked during the 10 day between match recovery cycle. These findings demonstrate that while significant physiological demands are placed on rugby league players as a result of the large number and intensity of physical collisions performed in training, these collisions are associated with minimal injury risk.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Football / injuries*
  • Hematoma / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Physical Education and Training*
  • Recovery of Function
  • Sprains and Strains / epidemiology
  • Time Factors
  • Wounds and Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Young Adult