There is a paucity of epidemiological data on neck injury in amateur rugby union populations. The objective of this study was to determine the incidence, severity, aetiology and type of neck injury in Australian men's amateur rugby union.
Data was collected from a cohort of 262 participants from two Australian amateur men's rugby union clubs via a prospective cohort study design. A modified version of the Rugby Union Injury Report Form for Games and Training was used by the clubs physiotherapist or chiropractor in data collection.
The participants sustained 90 (eight recurrent) neck injuries. Exposure time was calculated at 31143.8 hours of play (12863.8 hours of match time and 18280 hours of training). Incidence of neck injury was 2.9 injuries/1000 player-hours (95%CI: 2.3, 3.6). As a consequence 69.3% neck injuries were minor, 17% mild, 6.8% moderate and 6.8% severe. Neck compression was the most frequent aetiology and was weakly associated with severity. Cervical facet injury was the most frequent neck injury type.
This is the first prospective cohort study in an amateur men's rugby union population since the inception of professionalism that presents injury rate, severity, aetiology and injury type data for neck injury. Current epidemiological data should be sought when evaluating the risks associated with rugby union football.