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Leahy, TM;Kenny, IC;Campbell, MJ;Warrington, GD;Cahalan, R;Harrison, AJ;Lyons, M;Glynn, LG;O'Sullivan, K;Purtill, H;Comyns, TM
Orthopaedic Journal Of Sports Medicine
Epidemiology of Shoulder Injuries in Schoolboy Rugby Union in Ireland
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Background: The shoulder has been reported as a frequent location of injury in adult professional and amateur rugby, with match injury incidence rates ranging from 1.8 to 3 per 1000 player-hours (h). An increased understanding of the incidence and mechanism of shoulder injuries in school rugby players is vital to establish effective injury preventive strategies and advise on appropriate rehabilitation. Purpose: To describe the incidence, nature, and severity of shoulder injuries in schoolboy rugby in Ireland. Study Design: Descriptive epidemiology study. Methods: Injury surveillance was carried out for Senior Cup teams across two seasons (N = 665 players aged 17-19 years) in Ireland from 2018 to 2020. Match and training injury data were recorded using an online system by trained nominated injury recorders. Match exposure was also recorded. Results: Shoulder match injury incidence was 12.2 per 1000 h (95% CI, 9.1-16.2), with a mean severity of 47 days' time loss and an overall burden of 573 days per 1000 h. In total, 47 match and 5 training shoulder injuries were recorded. The most common injuries were shoulder dislocations/subluxations (34%), followed by acromioclavicular joint sprains (30%). Shoulder dislocations/subluxations represented the most burdensome injury (280 days per 1000 h). The tackle accounted for the majority (81%) of shoulder injuries. Forwards sustained a significantly higher incidence of shoulder injuries (8.3/1000 h) in comparison with backs (3.9/1000 h), with a rate ratio of 2.13 (95% CI, 1.15-3.94; P = .015). Conclusion: We found a notably higher injury incidence rate in schoolboy rugby as compared with the adult amateur and professional game. Shoulder injuries were responsible for more days lost than any other injury, and shoulder dislocations were the most severe. This is of particular concern so early in a player's career and warrants further investigation into potential risk factors and mechanisms associated with shoulder injuries in school-age players.
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