The IRFU and the University of Limerick (UL) have released the first findings from the Irish Rugby Injury Surveillance (IRIS) research project which looks at injuries in both the men’s and women’s All Ireland League (AIL) during the 2017/18 season.
The project is the first long-term Rugby Union specific injury surveillance research project within amateur Rugby Union in Ireland and the research records the incidence, type, nature and severity of both match and training injuries occurring across the amateur game in Ireland.
The report compiled across 418 matches from 19 All Ireland League (AIL) and Women’s All Ireland League Clubs (15 male teams / 4 female teams) found some interesting figures around a number of injury-related criteria across the sport.
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Looking at injury frequency the research found that a male player would have to play 15 matches to sustain one injury, whereas a female player would have to play 16 matches to sustain one injury.
There was also an exploration into training injuries which showed that most male injuries came as a result of tackling and contact drills, but alternatively, most female injuries came as a result of non-contact / set-piece drills.
These findings were also echoed by the injury occurrence in matches which showed that a male player would suffer 6.1 concussions per 1000 hours played, but a female would suffer less, 5.1 per 1000 hours played, the same amount of ankle ligament sprains per the same timeframe.
Dr. Rod McLoughlin, IRFU Medical Director, commented, “Player welfare is of paramount importance to the IRFU and understanding the nature and type of injury that occurs in Rugby is vital in the planning and provision of medical care to players.
The IRIS research data will be invaluable in informing how the IRFU address player welfare concerns in the amateur game. As the scope of the research widens to include additional AIL clubs as well as schools and youth rugby the IRFU will have a robust evidence-based insight into injuries within the amateur game.”