Profile of an American amateur rugby union sevens series

Am J Sports Med. 2012 Jan;40(1):179-84. doi: 10.1177/0363546511427124. Epub 2011 Nov 18.


Background: Rugby union will enter the Olympic arena as Rugby Sevens in 2016.

Purpose: To investigate the injury rate, injury type, and nature of injuries sustained in an amateur American rugby union sevens tournament series.

Study design: Descriptive epidemiology study.

Methods: The rate, demographics, and characteristics of injury were evaluated in 1536 rugby union sevens players, from 128 sides, competing in 4 amateur 1-day tournaments in a USA Rugby local area rugby union.

Results: Forty-eight injuries occurred over 4 tournaments, for an injury rate of 55.4 injuries per 1000 playing hours. Head and neck injuries were most common (33.3% of injuries), followed by upper extremity (31.3%), trunk (18.8%), lower extremity (14.6%), and physiologic injuries (2.1%). The most common type of injury was ligament sprain (25.0%); followed by concussion (14.6%), hematoma/contusion (12.5%), muscle strain (10.4%), and abrasion (8.3%). Tackling was the most common mechanism of injury (74.5%). Males were injured at a significantly higher rate than females (RR, 7.5, P < .01), but no significant difference was observed based on player position (P = .08).

Conclusion: Injuries are common among American amateur rugby athletes, with a substantial proportion involving the head and neck region.

Clinical relevance: Understanding injury patterns in an American rugby union will be important for formulating future injury prevention, assessment, and treatment protocols.

MeSH terms

  • Athletic Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Athletic Injuries / prevention & control
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Female
  • Football / injuries*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • United States / epidemiology