The epidemiological approach to sports injury : the case for rugby league
In any sporting activity it is important to know how many injuries players might receive and also what type of injuries will be received, so that efforts can be made to reduce the risk of injury. This thesis examines the injury incidence associated with playing professional rugby league, and examines some of the risks associated with injury whilst playing the game. The first paper describes the pattern of injury incidence in professional rugby league and noted that it is higher than in other popular team sports. The second paper examines the different exposures of forward and back players and observes that forwards experience higher rates of injury. The third and fourth papers examine the effect of moving the playing calendar to summer rugby. The risk of injury has increased 67%, and it is also shown that 13% of players experience a 2-3% body mass loss in 14 of 16 games played in excess of 19°C ambient temperature. The next two papers look specifically at the number of collisions experienced by players during the course of a game. Forwards are involved in more collisions (55) than backs (29) during the course of each game. Also, backs have a significantly higher injury rate per 10,000 physical collisions compared to forwards. The next paper proposes a cyclical operational model to examine the interrelationship of a number of factors that are involved in sports injury epidemiology. The application of this proposed cyclical model may lead to greater success in understanding the multi-faceted nature of sports injuries. The final study in the series summarise the injury rates in professional rugby league football from previously published studies. The overall injury rate is 40.3 injuries per 1,000 hours (95% CI 36.9 to 43.8). The majority of injuries are to the lower half of the body (20.7 per 1,000 hours, 17.7 to 24), with the trunk receiving the least (6.7 per 1,000 hours, 5 to 8.6).