Head impact exposures in women’s collegiate rugby

Original Research

Authors: Taylor L. Langevin ,Daniel Antonoff,Christina Renodin,Erin Shellene,Lee Spahr,Wallace A. Marsh &John M. Rosene

Published online: 01 Jun 2020 https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00913847.2020.1770568?journalCode=ipsm20

OBJECTIVES: To describe the incidence, magnitude, and distribution of head impacts and track concussions sustained in a collegiate level women’s rugby season.

METHODS: Data on head impact incidence and magnitude were collected via Smart Impact Monitors (SIM) (Triax Technologies, Inc., Norwalk, CT) within fitted headbands during practices and games of one competitive season. Magnitude data included peak linear acceleration (PLA) and peak rotational velocity (PRV) measurements and were reported as median [IQR].

RESULTS: Players sustained 120 head impacts ≥ 15g (18.1g – 78.9g) with 1199 total athlete exposures. In eight games, 67 head impacts were recorded with a mean rate of 0.40 ± 0.22 hits per-player per-match, median PLA of 32.2g and PRV of 13.5 rad.sec-1. There were 53 head impacts in 47 practices with a mean rate of 0.05 ± 0.04 hits per-player per-practice, median PLA of 29.8g and PRV of 15.7 rad.sec-1. Four concussions were reported and monitored.

CONCLUSION: The incidence and magnitude of head impacts in collegiate level women’s rugby over one season of practices and games were fewer than those reported in other comparable studies. These findings give insight into the impact burden that female collegiate rugby athletes withstand throughout a competitive season.

Cumulative Sport‑Related Injuries and Longer Term Impact in Retired Male Elite‑ and Amateur‑Level Rugby Code Athletes and Non‑contact Athletes: A Retrospective Study

Interesting study by Durham University on the impact of the accumulation of injuries on both professional and amateur rugby players, important role on the Concussion.
Rugby union and rugby league are popular team contact sports, but they bring a high risk of injury. Although previous studies have reported injury occurrence across one or several seasons, none have explored the total number of injuries sustained across an entire career.
Reading the paper efforts should be prioritized to reduce the occurrence and recurrence of injuries in rugby codes at all levels of the sport.
Strategies should be developed for supporting specific physical health needs of both codes athlete’s post-retirement.
To read the full Article click on the PDF : Durham Study

Association of artificial turf and concussion in competitive contact sports: a systematic review and metaanalysis

Authors Frank O’ Leary 1, Nic Acampora 2, Fiona Hand 3, James O’ Donovan 1

BMJ Open Sport & Exercise Medicine 2020;6:e000695. doi:10.1136/bmjsem-2019-000695
1 Department of Performance
Medicine, Sport Ireland Institute,
Dublin, Ireland
2 Faculty of Life Sciences,
University of South Wales,
Pontypridd, UK
3 Department of Surgery, St.
Vincent’s University Hospital,
Elm Park, Dublin, Ireland

An interesting study published in May 2020 by the BMJ in Sports Exercise and Medicine concerning artificial pitches:

Artificial turf can be defined as ‘a surface of synthetic fibres made to look like natural grass’. Since its introduction in 1965, safety concerns have been raised over its use as a playing surface in competitive contact sports. The higher number of knee and ankle injuries occurring on artificial turf has been established.

Despite these safety concerns, an ongoing replacement of natural grass with synthetic turf continues to occur in contact sport.

The aim of this review was to compare the incidence of head injuries and concussion on both artificial turf and natural grass in those competitive contact sports (of any standard) using both surfaces. From this, the risk of such injuries can be directly compared on either playing surface.

What is already known?
► With increasing awareness of head injuries in contact sports, the diagnosis of concussion is becoming more common. Artificial turf is frequently used as a
playing surface for contact sports. There remains no consensus on whether playing surface contributes to the incidence of significant head injury.

What are the new findings?
► Analysis of the limited publications on artificial turf playing surface demonstrates a lower incidence of concussion and head injury in competitive contact sports. On subgroup analysis, this effect is most marked in rugby and American football, with no significant association of playing surface on the incidence of head injury or concussion in soccer.

This systematic review demonstrates an overall lower concussion and head injury rate occurring on artificial turf in competitive contact sports combined, yet when assessing the sports (soccer, American football and rugby) individually, the link between head injury and concussion with playing surface type is not as clear.

Future research in this area would be important to ascertain reasons for this result.

Further examination on what other factors exist that could lead to lower head injury and concussion rates on artificial turf in contact sports should be established. This may include: number
of collisions on artificial turf, the incidence of surface to head contact, the maintenance of the artificial turf as well as its surface properties including temperature and HIC (Head Injury Criterion).

For a full read of the article click on the link Artificial Turf and Concussion

Nutrients : journal of human nutrition

The Effects of Physical Activity and Diet Interventions on Body Mass Index in Latin American Children and Adolescents:  A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Authors: Andrés Godoy-Cumillaf , Paola Fuentes-Merino, Armando Díaz-González , Judith Jiménez-Díaz , Vicente Martínez-Vizcaíno , Celia Álvarez-Bueno and Iván Cavero-Redondo

I don’t usually read this journal but this study published on the 20th of May addresses physical activity and nutrition and caught my attention. This paper did a systematic review and meta-analysis to compare the effect of physical activity only with that of physical activity plus diet interventions on body mass index (BMI) in Latin American children and adolescents.

The Study discusses results on the effect of physical activity plus diet agree with previous meta-analyses that have analysed non-Latin American populations, highlighting that physical activity is one of  the central elements of weight loss. However, when combined with diet intervention, the reduction ranged from 3.2% to 20% more, underscoring that the best results are achieved when calories are restricted. All this confirms the necessity of designing interventions which combine physical activity with a nutritional component. physical activity plus diet programs proved to be more efficient in decreasing BMI values in children and adolescents.

To summarise it is necessary to implement more physical activity plus diet interventions in Latin America, in order to help in reducing the high levels of overweight and obesity that are found in this region.

To read the full Article click on the link : Nutrients

Early Strength and Conditioning techniques at the turn of the 20th Century

They had the right idea for punishment or training? You decide

Scapula Fractures in Elite Soccer and Rugby Players

Review of Article


Jerome McIntosh,* MBBS, Pouya Akhbari,† MBBS, MSc, FRCS (Tr & Orth) Eng,
Amar Malhas,‡ MBBS, FRCS (Tr & Orth) Eng, and
Lennard Funk,†§ MBBCh, MSc, FRCS (Tr & Orth) Eng

Scapula fractures are infrequent, representing 1% of all fractures. They are often secondary to high-energy trauma and have significant associated injuries. Over 50% of scapula fractures occur as a result of road traffic collisions, with almost 20% involving a pedestrian being struck by a car. A simple fall accounts for only 12% of scapula fractures in the population.

While most of the fractures can be successfully managed nonoperatively and a superior shoulder suspensory mechanism injury, may require surgical intervention. Almost 90% of scapula fractures are attributed to high energy mechanisms. These are well reported in the literature, with associated injuries. Anterior glenoid rim fractures associated with dislocation have also been reported. However, scapula fractures attributed to sports injuries are not well reported in the literature.

Approximately 0.5% of all sports-related fractures are scapula fractures. No studies were identified that focused on scapula fractures in rugby or European football (soccer). Elite rugby players are a unique population in that they are often subjected to high-energy collisions.6 Each player can expect to routinely receive 1.95 to 2.13 times their bodyweight during tackles and collisions, with the mean weight of a front row player approaching 99.79 Kg.

The forces involved become substantial. Predictably, these common events during any match lead to a high rate of injury and time off play. Specifically, shoulder injuries are thought to occur every 17,000 player-hours of a match, although only 1% of those result in a fracture.

Scapula fractures in elite rugby players are rarer, representing only 8% of significant shoulder injuries requiring specialist orthopaedic management. Given its significance, there is little in the literature specifically addressing this injury.

During the 8-year study review period, the senior author saw 829 shoulder injuries in competitive rugby players and 103 shoulder injuries in competitive soccer players. Eleven patients with scapula fractures were identified (Table 1). Of these, 9 patients were professional rugby players (4 rugby league and 5 rugby union); 1 patient was a professional soccer player; and 1 patient was an amateur soccer player.

The results of this study demonstrated that scapula fractures in rugby or soccer players are associated with a prolonged recovery time of 4 to 5 months. There is little in the literature focusing on scapula injuries in professional rugby players other than its incidence.

The rate of suprascapular nerve injury in rugby players was 22% in the study. The literature also reports high rates of ongoing pain after scapula neck and body injuries treated nonoperatively, with rates of exertional weakness approaching 40% to 60% of cases.

To conclude, Scapula fractures acquired in sports are a serious injury with a prolonged recovery period, and they can have career-ending effects. There is a high association of these fracture patterns with suprascapular nerve injuries, which must be examined during clinical assessment. These high-energy injuries are rarely described in athletes and classically relate to major trauma, highlighting the forces associated with rugby and other contact sports.

To read the entire article click on the link : Scapula Fractures


In this paper, 13 collegiate male wrestlers with >1 year of strength training were randomly assigned to 1 of 2 groups: Chain Bench Press or Plate Bench Press to see which would improve explosive power measured using a Plyometric push up on a force plate more.

The athletes performed a Plyometric push up, Chain/Plate Bench Press set 1 (6 reps @ 60%), 30 seconds rest, Plyometric push up, 3 minutes rest, Chain/ Plate Bench Press set 2 (6 reps @60%), 30 seconds rest, and Plyometric push up.

The authors found that the Chain Bench Press did not result in higher upper-body power over traditional plate loaded resistances.

The study’s concluded, peak force appears to be less affected by fatigue than peak power during a complex training protocol for the upper body. The optimal recovery periods that will minimize the fatigue elicited from the conditioning contraction yet enhances strength and power potentiation for the subsequent ballistic exercise requires further study.

Reading the paper, it seems the rest period between the load set to the Plyometric push up is way too short. Most evidence suggests that post-activation potentiation (PAP) can last up to 5 mins post load set. Secondly, the load appears to be way too light to stimulate PAP.

Read the paper and make your own conclusion:

Effect of Acute Complex Training on Body Force and Power in Collegiate Wrestlers

Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research Volume 33 (4) Page 902–909


In this paper, published this month, 20 subjects had one leg randomly assigned to High-Frequency training (5 x per week) and the other to Low-Frequency (2-3 x per week). Muscle cross-sectional area and 1 repetition maximum were assessed at baseline and after 8 weeks of training.

Some individuals showed greater muscle mass and strength gains after High-Frequency (31.6 and 26.3% of individuals, respectively), others had greater gains with Low-Frequency (36.8 and 15.8% of individuals, respectively), and even others showed similar responses between High-Frequency and Low-Frequency

The authors concluded that individual manipulation of resistance-training frequency can improve the intra-subject responsiveness to training, but the effect is limited to each individual’s capacity to respond to resistance training.

Please read and provide your own conclusions:

Individual Muscle Hypertrophy and Strength

Comparison Between Unilateral and Bilateral Plyometric Training on Single and Double-Leg Jumping Performance and Strength

In this paper, the authors explored the effects of unilateral and bilateral plyometric training on single and double-leg jumping performance, maximal strength, and rate of force development (RFD).

Fifteen moderately trained subjects were randomly assigned to either a unilateral (U, n = 7) or bilateral group (B, n = 8). Both groups performed maximal effort plyometric leg exercises 2 times per week for 6 weeks. The B group performed all exercises with both legs, whereas the U group performed half the repetitions with each leg so that total exercise volume was the same. Jumping performance was assessed by CounterMovement Jumps (CMJs) and drop jumps (DJs), whereas maximal isometric leg press strength and RFD were measured before and after training for each leg separately and both legs together.

The results were that Unilateral plyometric training was more effective at increasing both single- and double-leg jumping performance, isometric leg press maximal force, and RFD when compared with bilateral training.

Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research VOLUME 33 | NUMBER 3 | MARCH 2019

Comparison Between Unilateral and Bilateral

Factors Related to Average Concentric Velocity of Four Barbell Exercises at Various Loads

In this paper, the authors wanted to see whether individual factors such as training experience or anthropometrics influence the average concentric velocity (ACV) during a repetition.

Therefore, the purpose of this study was to determine whether training age, current training frequency, limb length, height, and relative strength are related to ACV at loads between 35 and 100% of the 1RM for the squat, bench press, Deadlift, and overhead press. A secondary purpose was to compare the ACV values between the 4 lifts at each relative load. Fifty-one (18 women and 33 men) completed 2 testing sessions in which the squat, bench press, deadlift, and overhead press ACV were measured during a modified 1RM protocol.

Generally, compared at the same relative loads, the overhead press exhibited the greatest ACV followed by the squat, bench press, and deadlift (in order). In addition, relative strength level was inversely related to ACV at maximal loads (>95% 1RM) for the squat, bench press, and deadlift while height was positively related to ACV at moderate loads (55% 1RM) for all lifts.

These results suggest that the load-velocity profile is unique for each of these exercises, and that velocity ranges used for exercise prescription should be specific to the exercise. A trainee’s relative strength and height may be a primary influence on the ACV.

Factors Related to Average Concentric Velocity of Four Barbell Exercises at Various Loads