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Player load monitoring and injury risk in elite Scottish Rugby Union

Paul, Cameron I.


Cameron I. Paul


There is a limited amount of research in professional Rugby Union to minimise the high injury risk associated with the sport. Given that injuries are sustained when workload is performed, the monitoring of player loads, and how these loads may relate to injury is of importance. This thesis presents an investigation of various external workloads and how these workloads may influence injury risk. Firstly, training volume and match exposure data were assessed. Players with the highest mean weekly training volume had the lowest injury incidence and injury burden rates. On the contrary, players with very high 1- and 2-weekly training volumes were significantly more likely to be injured compared to their respective reference groups. For match exposure data, injury incidence and injury burden rates were lowest for players involved in ≥ 25 matches per season. For training volume, the odds of injury increased linearly as the ACWR increased > 1.00. This thesis also investigated pitch-based workloads via global positioning system devices housing inertial measurement units. Derived measures of 1 – 4 weekly loads, weekly changes in load and ACWR data were used to investigate workload-injury relationships. Large difference in the workloads completed by positional groups were reported, which also translated to position-specific injury risks. It was concluded that there is a need for a more individualised monitoring approach when measuring workload-injury relationships for pitch-based loads. Rugby Union match play contact loads were also investigated in this thesis. Using video coding analysis, large differences between positional groups for contact volume and the number of contact events engaged in per player per match were reported. Ball Carrying events reported the highest injury risk per event (79.8 events per injury). In particular, velocity, tackle type and impact force were areas of concern. The multiple workload measures adopted in this thesis to investigate the influence of external workload on injury risk highlight that the workload-injury picture can greatly differ depending on the workload metrics adopted to monitor load in professional Rugby Union.


Paul, C. I. Player load monitoring and injury risk in elite Scottish Rugby Union. (Thesis). Edinburgh Napier University. Retrieved from

Thesis Type Thesis
Deposit Date Nov 15, 2022
Publicly Available Date Nov 15, 2022
Public URL
Award Date Jul 7, 2022


Player load monitoring and injury risk in elite Scottish Rugby Union (3.5 Mb)

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