The aim of this study was to compare the incidence, nature, and cause of injuries sustained in rugby union played on artificial turf and grass. The study comprised a two-season investigation of match injuries sustained by six teams competing in Hong Kong's Division 1 and training injuries sustained by two teams in the English Premiership. Injury definitions and recording procedures were compliant with the international consensus statement on epidemiological studies of injuries in rugby union. There were no significant differences in the overall incidence (rate ratio = 1.42; P = 0.134) or severity (P = 0.620) of match injuries sustained on the two surfaces. The lower limb and joint (non-bone)/ligament injuries were the most common location and type of match injury on both surfaces; the incidence of anterior cruciate ligament injuries was nearly four times higher on artificial turf than grass but the difference was not statistically significant (rate ratio = 3.82; P = 0.222). There were no significant differences in the overall incidence (rate ratio = 1.36; P = 0.204) or severity (P = 0.302) of training injuries sustained on artificial turf and grass. The lower limb and muscle/tendon injuries were the most common location and type of training injury on both surfaces. The results indicate that the overall risks of injury on artificial turf are not significantly different from those experienced on grass; however, the difference in the incidence of anterior cruciate ligament injuries on the two surfaces is worthy of further study.
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Journal of Sports Sciences