Subsequent Injuries and Early Recurrent Diagnoses in elite Rugby Union Players

Sean Williams, Grant Trewartha, Simon Kemp, Matthew J. Cross, John H.M. Brooks, Colin W. Fuller, Aileen E. Taylor, Keith A. Stokes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


An eight-season (2005/06-2012/13) prospective cohort design was used to record time-loss injuries in 15 English Premiership teams. Data pertaining to a total of 1 556 players and 9 597 injuries (8 180 subsequent) were included in the analysis. Injuries subsequent to an index injury were classified as (1) New: different site; (2) Local: same site (and different type); or (3) Recurrent: same site and type. The severity of subsequent injuries (days missed) was compared with their related index injury. The proportions of early (<2 months), late (2-12 months) and delayed (>12 months) subsequent injuries were compared across injury classifications and diagnosis groupings. The majority of subsequent injuries (70%) were classified as new injuries, with 14% local and 16% recurrent. A large proportion of recurrent subsequent injuries (42%) occurred within two months of return-to-play. Subsequent injuries were not more severe than their corresponding index injury (effect sizes <0.20). Specific local and recurrent subsequent injury diagnoses with the highest risk of occurring within two months of return-to-play were: 'neck muscle strain', 'ankle joint capsule sprain', and 'cervical nerve root' injuries. These findings may be used to drive targeted secondary prevention efforts, such as reconsideration of return-to-play protocols for neck muscle strain injuries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)791-798
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Sports Medicine
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York.


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