Rugby injury surveillance and the provision of defibrillators at sports universities

Injury researchers interested in either injury surveillance in elite sport or the provision of medical devices as a preventive measure in case of injury will be interested in two papers published in the December, Volume 45(15), issue of Injury Prevention’s sister journal, the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

In the first paper by Taylor et al., a descriptive profile of injuries sustained during the 2010 Women’s Rugby World Cup is reported in a short report.  Team doctors from 11 of the 12 participating countries provided information on injury details during the tournament and this was linked to baseline profile information provided by the players themselves. Knee ligament injuries were the most common, accounting for 15% of all injuries.  These injuries were also disproportionately the most severe, accounting for 43% of the days lost from the competition due to injury.  Given that women are known to have higher rates of anterior cruciate ligament injuries than men in other sports, the authors suggest that this type of injury should perhaps be the focus of further research in women’s rugby.

The second paper of interest, by Drezner et al,. gives a description of the provision and use of automated external defibrillators (or AEDs) at major sports universities in the United States (US) – the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I and II universities.  The installation of AEDs at collegiate sporting venues is a growing trend in the US as part of an emergency preparedness strategy for instances of sudden cardiac arrest in athletes, with a view to preventing death as an outcome.  This is an example of a settings-based intervention that is introduced for the benefit of a particular group of people, in this case the athletes, who may be “at risk” within that setting.  An interesting finding of this study, however, was that the AEDs were more commonly used for cardiac arrest in non-athletes at the sporting venues.  This demonstrates the greater benefit that some settings-based or specific environmentally-located interventions can have on groups other than the initial target group.  This all adds more to the cost-effectiveness and cost-benefit of investing in prevention!

Caroline Finch is an injury prevention researcher from the Australian Centre for Research into Injury in Sport and its Prevention (ACRISP) within the Monash Injury Research Centre, Monash University, Australia.  She specialises in implementation and dissemination science applications for sports injury prevention.  She is the Senior Associate Editor for Implementation & Dissemination for the British Journal of Sports Medicine and a member of the Editorial Board of Injury Prevention; both journals are published by the BMJ Group.  Caroline can be followed on Twitter @CarolineFinch

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