Prevalence of laceration injuries in professional and amateur rugby union: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Bodil Y. Oudshoorn*, Heather F. Driscoll, Karen Kilner, Marcus Dunn, David James

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Background Studded footwear can cause severe lacerations in rugby union; the prevalence of these injuries is currently unknown. Objective To summarise the skin and laceration injury prevalence in published epidemiological studies and to investigate any differences in skin injury risk between amateur and professional players. Design Systematic literature review and meta-analysis of epidemiological studies. Data sources PubMed, Web of Science, Scopus and Ovid. Eligibility criteria for selecting studies Prospective, epidemiological studies published in English after 1995, measuring a minimum of 400 match or 900 training exposure hours. Participants should be adult rugby union players (amateur or professional). The study should report a separate skin or laceration injury category and provide sufficient detail to calculate injury prevalence within this category. Results Twelve studies were included. Mean skin injury prevalence during matches was 2.4 injuries per 1000 exposure hours; during training sessions, the prevalence was 0.06 injuries per 1000 exposure hours. Skin injuries accounted for 5.3% of match injuries and 1.7% of training injuries. Skin injury risk was similar for amateur compared with professional players during matches (OR: 0.63, p=0.46.), but higher during training sessions (OR: 9.24, p=0.02). Conclusions The skin injury prevalence of 2.4 injuries per 1000 exposure hours is equivalent to one time-loss injury sustained during matches per team, per season. Amateur players are more likely to sustain skin injuries during training sessions than professional players. There is a need for more studies observing injuries among amateur players. Trial registration number PROSPERO CRD42015024027.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere000239
JournalBMJ Open Sport and Exercise Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jul 2017


  • Dermatology
  • Epidemiology
  • Injury
  • Review
  • Rugby

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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