Tackling concussion in professional rugby union: a case–control study of tackle-based risk factors and recommendations for primary prevention
BMJ Publishing Group
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Background/aim: Concussion, the most common injury in professional rugby union, occurs most commonly during the tackle. Thus, we investigated the association between tackle characteristics and concussion. Methods: 182 video clips of tackles leading to clinically diagnosed concussion and 4619 tackles that did not were coded across three professional rugby union competitions. A variable selection process was undertaken to identify the most important variables for interpretation. A multivariate generalised linear model was used to model the association between retained variables and concussion risk. Magnitude-based inferences provided an interpretation of the real-world relevance of the outcomes. Results: The four retained variables were: accelerating player, tackler speed, head contact type and tackle type. Overall, 70% of concussions occurred to the tackler and 30% to the ball carrier. There was a higher risk of concussion if the tackler accelerated into the tackle (OR: 2.49, 95% CI 1.70 to 3.64) or the tackler was moving at high speed (OR: 2.64, 95% CI 1.92 to 3.63). Head contact with the opposing player’s head (OR: 39.9, 95% CI 22.2 to 71.1) resulted in a substantially greater risk of concussion compared with all other head contact locations. Conclusions: Interventions that reduce the speed and acceleration of the tackler and reduce exposure to head-to-head contact would likely reduce concussion risk in professional rugby union.
British Journal of Sports Medicine;
Cross, M.J., Tucker, R., Raftery, M., Hester, B., Williams, S., Stokes, K.A., Ranson, C., Mathema, P. and Kemp, S. (2019) 'Tackling concussion in professional rugby union: a case–control study of tackle-based risk factors and recommendations for primary prevention', British Journal of Sports Medicine, 53(16), pp.1021-1025. DOI: 10.1136/bjsports-2017-097912.
Article published in British Journal of Sports Medicine on 11 October 2017 (online), available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bjsports-2017-097912.
Cardiff Metropolitan University (Grant ID: Cardiff Metropolian (Internal))
- Sport Research Groups 
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