The Rugby Football Union and Premiership Rugby Ltd has conducted an annual injury audit of England and Premiership teams since 2002. An injury is included in the audit if it prevents a player from training and/or playing for more than 24 hrs (see Methods section for a full definition).
This report is based on data collected from the 2010-2011 season and found that:
- 746 match injuries at Premiership clubs were reported; this equates to an average of 62 match injuries per club per season and 1.9 injuries per club per match with each injury leading to an average of 21 days absence from training and/or playing.
- The incidence (or likelihood of sustaining a match injury in 2010-11 was 93 injuries per 1,000 hrs. This was an increase of 16% in 2010-11 (80 injuries per 1,000 hrs). This equates to an increase of 0.3 injuries per club per match or 110 more injuries over the course of the season compared with 2009-10.
- The average severity (days before return to fitness/availability for match selection) as a result of match injury in 2010-11 was 21 days compared with 22 days in 2009-10
- As a consequence of the increase in incidence of match injury, the total number of days absence as a result of match injury increased by 11%, to 1917 days absence per 1000hrs in 2010-11 compared with 1722 days absence per 1000 hrs in 2009-10.
- Since the study began in 2002, the likelihood of sustaining a match injury has varied between a lower limit of 75 injuries per 1000 hours (2005-6) and an upper limit of 100 injuries per 1000 hours (2002-3 and 2008-9), with an average severity of injury between 16 (2002-3) and 23 (2008-9) days and the total days absence per 1000 hours between 1556 (2002-3) and 2285 days (2008-9).
- The precise reasons for the small increase in the match injury risk seen in 2010-11 compared with 2009-10 are unclear. It appears to be as a result of both an increase in a number of different injuries that resulted in 4-7 days absence and a very small absolute increase in injuries that resulted in more than 84 days absence.
- Days absence due to Knee Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) ruptures (an uncommon match injury that typically results in more than 84 days absence) increased from 3 (2009-10) to 5 in 2010-11 and this had a very significant effect on both the overall average severity of match injury and the total days absence as a result of match injury in 2010-11.
- 340 training injuries at Premiership clubs were reported; this equates to an average of 28 training injuries per club per season. Injuries occurring during rugby skill sessions resulted in an average of 25 days absence from training and/or playing and injuries occurring during strength and conditioning session resulted in an average of 17 days absence.
- The likelihood of sustaining an injury during training increased by 16% in 2010-11(2.8 injuries per 1000 hrs) compared with 2009-10 (2.4 injuries per 1000 hrs). This equates to an increase of 3.5 injuries per club or 42 more training injuries over the course of the season compared with 2009-10.
- As a consequence of the increase incidence and average severity of training injuries sustained during rugby skill sessions, the total days absence, as result these injuries, increased by 29%, 76 days absence per 1000hrs in 2010-11 compared with 59 days absence per 1000hrs in 2009-10. The increase in incidence of training injuries sustained during strength and conditioning sessions resulted in the increase in the total days absence, as result of these injuries. An increase of 11%, 41 days absence per 1000hrs in 2010-11 compared with 37 days absence per 1000 hrs in 2009-10.
- The rise in the risk of injury during rugby skills contact sessions and conditioning non weights sessions were the causes of the small increase in training injury risk
- seen in 2010-11. This is principally as a result of contact events in the rugby skill sessions (69% of all rugby skill contact session injuries in 2010-11) and running related injuries (78% of all conditioning non weights training injuries in 2010-11). Time spent on these two activities reduced in 2010-11 so it is likely that any difference in injury risk is as a result of differences in training session content and/or intensity.
- Since the study began in 2002, the likelihood of sustaining a training injury during rugby skill sessions has varied from a lower limit of 1.7 injuries per 1000 hours and an upper limit of 3.3 injuries per 1000 player hours, with an average severity of injury between 19 and 28 days and the total days absence per 1000hours between 37 and 93 days.
- Since the study began in 2002, the likelihood of sustaining a training injury during strength and conditioning sessions has varied from a lower limit of 1.3 injuries per 1000 hours and an upper limit of 2.7 injuries per 1000 player hours, with an average severity of injury between 13 and 18 days and the total days absence per 1000hours between 23 and 44 days.
- The likelihood of sustaining a recurrence of a previous injury in matches and the days absence resulting from recurrent injuries decreased again in 2010-11 and continues to be a falling trend. The match injury recurrence rate fell from 10% to 7%. Work defining practical tools to help medical teams and coaches evaluate when a player is appropriately rehabilitated from common and high risk injuries should continue.
- There was very limited change in the types of match or training injury that were the most common or highest risk in 2010-11 compared with previous seasons.
- The England Rugby Injury and Training Audit is now the largest and most comprehensive elite game injury dataset in the world and provides much of the data needed to drive a leading elite game injury risk management programme in England.