Background: Rugby union is the most popular worldwide collision sport, yet concerns have been raised regarding the safety of the sport due to the physical, high impact nature and an increasing number of injuries.
Methods: A prospective, cohort study of the incidence, pattern and severity of injuries in rugby players in six Scottish schools during the second half of the 2008-09 season. Definition of injury and severity of injury were taken from International Rugby Board (IRB) consensus guidelines. Injury report forms and exposure data for match play were completed by a nominated staff member.
Results: Four hundred and seventy consent forms with survey information were returned. Of 37 rugby injuries in the study, 11 occurred during training. Head and face were the most injured body part and sprain/ligament injury the most common injury. Twenty injuries required attendance at Accident & Emergency with one admission. The tackle was the commonest phase of play causing injury. In the 193 matches played, the injury incidence during the match play was 10.8 injuries per 1000 player hours.
Conclusions: This study confirms the feasibility of collecting relevant injury data in schools rugby in Scotland. The findings are consistent with other studies with respect to incidence and profile of injuries sustained.