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Inury Surveillance in Junior Rugby League


Rugby League is a team sport played by over 170,000 players at clubs across Australia. Both the National Rugby League (NRL) and the State Leagues have a responsibility to create an environment that ensures the health, safety, and wellbeing of all players. There are concerns about the risk of injury, and that this could dissuade some parents from either permitting their children to play Rugby League, or continuing to play Rugby League. Development of a RL injury surveillance model has lagged behind other contact sports e.g. rugby union. Our previous study implemented an injury surveillance program in elite junior rugby league competitions. Findings showed that most injuries did not result in missed matches. Ankle and head/face were most frequently injured anatomical sites, and ankle injuries led to most matches missed. In relation to injury type, ligament injuries caused the greatest losses of match-play. Although piloted in these competitions, no standardised surveillance procedure has been adopted for monitoring injures in junior representative or grassroots rugby league competitions. Furthermore, there is no current data regarding the incidence, type and severity of injuries among grassroots junior rugby league players in Australia.This Project aims to identify the rate and nature of Rugby League injuries across age groups ranging from 6 to 17 years, and possible risk factors for injury types, which will enable the development of injury prevention strategies  The impact of injury rates will have important implications for ongoing participation and retention strategies within Rugby League.


Dr Rhonda Orr.

Research location

Exercise, Health and Performance Research Group

Program type



The project is a prospective cohort study. Players aged 6-17 years the from Penrith District Junior Rugby League will be recruited. The project will examine injuries across the 2016 rugby league season through a standardised injury monitoring program.  Measurements will quantify injury characteristics (incidence, site, type, severity) in the Junior Game and make recommendations on future on-field policy commensurate with resultsThe key objectives of the project are to:§  Implement a sustainable injury surveillance paradigm into Junior Rugby League §  Investigate injury characteristics, severity and incidence during training and in matches§  Provide an evidence base to scientifically inform On-field Policy in relation to game-wide safety issues.  §  Revise Rugby League’s On-field Policy, where appropriate, with respect to the presence of trained and accredited Sports Trainers within individual teams and at Rugby League venues

Additional information

Penrith District Junior Rugby League is the largest district junior Rugby League competition in Australia, with over 7,000 players under the age of 18 registered to clubs. Matches are staged over the course of 14-20 weekend rounds between April to September.

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Opportunity ID

The opportunity ID for this research opportunity is 2020

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