Identifying risk factors for contact injury in professional rugby league players—application of a frailty model for recurrent injury

Tim J Gabbett, Shahid Ullah, Caroline F Finch
Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport 2012, 15 (6): 496-504

OBJECTIVES: Well-developed physical qualities may protect against contact injuries. However, the potential contribution of physical qualities as risk or protective factors to contact injury risk is yet to be determined for rugby league. This study applied a frailty survival model that accounts for recurrent injury to identify risk factors for all physiotherapist-reported contact injury in professional rugby league players.

DESIGN: Prospective cohort study.

METHODS: Sixty-six professional rugby league players participated in this three successive year prospective study. At the start of each season, all players underwent measurements of standard anthropometry (height, body mass, and sum of seven skinfolds), speed (10 m and 40 m sprint), muscular strength (1 repetition maximum [RM] bench press, 1RM squat, 1RM weighted chin-ups), power (vertical jump, bench throw, 1RM power clean, jump squat), and endurance (maximum repetition bench press with 60 kg resistance), repeated-sprint ability (12 × 20 m sprints performed on a 20s cycle), prolonged high-intensity intermittent running ability (8 × 12 s maximal effort shuttles performed on a 48 s cycle), and maximal aerobic power (multi-stage fitness test). Data was used to demonstrate the application of the frailty model extension of the Cox proportional regression model for recurrent events to identify factors associated with a high hazard ratio (HR) of injury.

RESULTS: Heavier (body mass, HR=2.6, 95% CI=1.2-5.7), and faster (40 m sprint, HR=2.1, 95% CI=1.0-4.2) players, and those with poorly developed prolonged high-intensity intermittent running ability (HR=2.9, 95% CI=1.7-5.0) and upper-body strength (chin-up, HR=2.2, 95% CI=1.3-3.7) had a higher incidence of contact injuries.

CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrates application of a novel statistical approach for the analysis of injury data that is recurrent in nature. This approach identified that the greater impact forces generated from heavier players with faster speed may result in an increase in recurrent contact injury rates. However, the development of prolonged high-intensity intermittent running ability and upper-body strength and power may assist to reduce the risk of contact injury in professional rugby league players.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Related Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.


Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"