Lower Limb MSK Injuries Amongst School-aged Rugby and Football Players: A Systematic Review

David S. Anderson*, John M. Cathcart, Iseult Wilson, Julie A. Hides, Felix Leung, Daniel P. Kerr

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature reviewpeer-review

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Abstract

Objective
The objective of this systematic review was to explore the incidence of lower limb injuries sustained by rugby union, rugby league, soccer, Australian Rules and Gaelic football players who are under 18 years old. The review sought to identify the mechanisms and types of injury sustained and to compare between sports.

Design
This systematic review of the literature focussed on the incidence of lower limb injury in adolescent team sports that involved running and kicking a ball (rugby union, rugby league, soccer, Australian Rules and Gaelic football). A literature search of studies published prior to January 2020 was conducted using SportDiscus, Medline and PubMed databases. Prospective cohort studies, retrospective studies, longitudinal studies and epidemiology studies written in English were included.

The Standard Quality Assessment Criteria appraisal tool¹ was used to assess the quality of each article included in the review. Two or more authors independently reviewed all papers.

Results
Sixteen papers met the inclusion criteria; prospective cohort (N=14), retrospective (n=1) and longitudinal (n=1) and these studies investigated injuries in rugby union and rugby league (n=10), football (soccer) (n=3), Australian Rules (n=2) and Gaelic football (n=1). There were a total of 55,882 participants, aged 7 – 19 years old, who reported 6525 injuries. The type, site and mechanisms of injury differed across sports.

Summary
Lower limb injuries were common in adolescent rugby, soccer, Gaelic football and Australian Rules football players, however these studies may not fully reflect the true injury burden where recurrent and overuse injuries have not been considered. There were differences between sports in the mechanisms, types and severity of injury.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBritish Journal of Sports Medicine
Early online date28 Oct 2020
DOIs
Publication statusEarly online date - 28 Oct 2020

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