Since the introduction of professionalism to rugby union, the number of
players injured has risen dramatically. “The
cohort study previously conducted in players from senior rugby clubs in the
Scottish Borders in 1993–1994 when rugby union was an entirely amateur sport
was repeated in 1997–1998” (WM Garraway,2000, p348). Rugby union was made a professional sport in 1995 after
the 1995 World Cup in South Africa.  As a
result pro players had to adjust to the strains of the greater physical demands
and mental sturdiness required from them as full-time professionals (W M Garraway, 2000). The study for the outcome
of injuries along with the “calculation of
playing hours at risk were the same as in the study carried out in the
1993–1994 season.2 A rugby injury was defined as one sustained during a
competitive match which prevented the player from training or playing rugby
from the time of the injury or from the end of the match in which the injury
was sustained. An injury that allowed a player to return to rugby or rugby
related practice within seven days of its occurrence was classified as
transient.” (W M Garraway, 2000, p348). As for the results, the hours of
competitive rugby player were lower between 1997-1998, however the total
percentage of injured players nearly doubled as it rose “from 27% in
1993–1994 to 47% in 1997–1998” (W M Garraway, 2000,


in rugby is an international issue as it happens in multiple countries, i.e.
Scotland as previously shown but also In Australia as via the reading from A
Bathgate as “Rugby Union is an international sport
ranking second in participation only to soccer as a football code” (A Bathgate, 2002, p265). Over the last 15 years there’s been a significant rise of
involvement for rugby in Australia (A Bathgate,
2002) which collates with
the increase in injuries as if there are more people playing the number of
injuries will rise undoubtedly, however there is no stat provided by A Bathgate
to back up this claim. However, A Bathgate does provide theory for the increase
in injuries to test level players. The play is now quicker, the players
themselves are stronger, bigger and more fit, which means the collisions in the
tackles and carries are harder. Also, since professionalism in 1995, the ball
has been shown to be in the field of play for longer periods of time at the
elite level, meaning the level of collisions in game are higher, thus the
chance of injury is higher to. Also, due to professionalism, elite players are
able to focus more of their time upon improving their physical attributes (A Bathgate, 2002). This is shown as “In the two years of injury data collection
before the onset of professionalism, there was an injury rate of 47
injuries/1000 player hours. This has increased to 74 injuries/1000 player hours
in the four years since then.” (A Bathgate, 2002, p268). This literature does well in
suggesting the reasons for the increase in injuries to players due to the
increased element of strength and conditioning along with provide figures upon
the increased frequency of the injuries themselves over time.

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Best conducted a survey in which he recorded injury patterns throughout the
2003 Rugby World Cup. Best claims in his research that “Jakoet et al reported 70 injuries from 55 games in the
amateur era RWC 1995—an overall injury rate of 32 per 1000 player game hours” (J P Best, 2005, p812).  The 1995 WRC was
the last amateur world cup before rugby became professionalized afterwards in
1995. Best recorded that at the “2001 Under-21 Championships, 50
injuries occurred in 16 games played between eight teams over two weeks,
resulting in a rate of 78 per 1000 player game hours,” (J
P Best, 2005, p812) this
is a subsequent increase in injuries per 1000 player game hours from 32 to 78,
six years after the introduction of professionalism to rugby, showing that the
increased physicality due to players having more time to focus on their
strength and conditioning via professionalism has increased the rate of
injuries. An injury was defined as a medical or injury condition caused by an
event in the game which forced the player to vacate the field of play or miss a
successive game (J P Best, 2005). In his finding Best found that the
total injury level was 98 injuries over the course of 1000 player game hours
which is a high number when matched with previous Rugby World Cups (J P Best, 2005). “Jakoet et al4 reported an injury rate approximately one third
of that reported here for the 1995 RWC in South Africa, the last RWC in the
amateur era” (J P Best, 2005) which consequently shows that
professionalism has impacted the increase in injury frequency to rugby players.
(J P best, 2005). Best does well in giving reasons for the increase
in injuries to rugby players i.e. the effect professionalism has upon the collisions
in rugby which leads to more injuries. However, this paper is from 2005 which
means whilst it gives relevant knowledge as to the reasons for the increase in
injuries, it doesn’t hold relevance to current injury issues in rugby.


rugby injuries review conducted by KM Kaplan and his colleague sin the US in
2008 looked into the increase in rugby related injuries. They found that the
surge in injuries suffered by both elite pro players and amateur players has
been as of the result from an increase in the weight of the importance that
strength, endurance and pace hold now since professionalism in 1995 (KM Kaplan, 2008), this thus correlates back to what J P Best
and Bathgate said in their findings, that the increase in strength and
conditioning has had an impact on the number of injuries caused by on field
collisions. KM Kaplan also claims that another reason for a rise in injuries
for amateur players is use of improper pregame training and a smaller offseason
for which they are allowed to recover along with improper training technique (KM Kaplan, 2008).


Brooks clarifies in his finding, in all sport there is risk of injury, however
rugby injuries appear to be more common than any other sport, this mainly being
down to the impacts and tackles being a defining part of rugby itself (Brooks, 2008). The fact that the ball is now in the field
of play for a longer period of time means the overall number of tackles
increases along with the amount of rucks formed, giving more opportunity for an
injury to occur as a result. (Brooks,
Brooks finds that most of the injuries sustained whilst playing rugby occur
during a tackle. The tackle itself accounts for nearly 50% of all injuries
caused during a game, whilst a larger majority of injuries happen when being on
the receiving end of a tackle (Brooks,
2008). From
the trends in Brooks’ findings, there is a “high
incidence of injury compared with other team sports; an apparent increase in
injury risk since the advent of professionalism in both the professional and
amateur games,” (Brooks, 2008, p66). Brooks does well in identifying the
reasons for the increase in injuries due to professionalism in 1995 and that
the majority of injuries occur around the tackle, however in correlation with
the other literatures, there is a lack of variety in the findings due to the
apparent lack of research upon rugby injuries, thus giving us a “gap” in our
overall knowledge.


decided to conduct my own research into this topic via my research question
“why have the number of rugby related injuries increased in recent years.” In
order to conduct my study, I will be using interviews as my qualitative method
of research. Interviewing is a “systematic enquiry” in which there’s no
suggestion of the term “researcher” with the idea of the interviewer is in full
control of the events in the interview, choosing the necessary approach to the
interview is a practiced act which requires being able to have a standpoint
upon complicated and vital enquiries upon the desired topic at interest (Arksey H, 1999)


are various different versions of interviews, each of which contain different
questions which are correct in singular circumstances (Beth L Leech, 2002). “Unstructured
interviews, often used by ethnographers, are really more conversations than
interviews, with even the topic of conversation subject to change as the
interview progresses;” (Beth L Leech, 2002, p665) As a result of these testing incidents,
unstructured interviews are most appropriate as of when the interviewer himself
has a lack of awareness upon the topic itself and needs a more insider
standpoint to base his claims off. However, as a result of the casual nature of
this interview, the discussion can as a result become of topic and not relevant
to the investigation. This means that the interview can almost never ensure to
provide consistent records which can be comparatively compared across multiple issues.
This means that consequently unstructured interviews should only be used for
getting an understanding of the topic and not for postulation. (Beth L Leech, 2002).


though we already possess a lot of information on very precise inquiries.
Should the researcher academic already know a decent amount about the topic at
hand, they only need to count the reactions to a specific answer, document It
and then record it. These structured interviews tend to use closed-ended
questions as these are the most fitting, however these types of questions can
go wrong though as should we believe that we are accustomed with a section but
then go onto ask the incorrect questions at the wrong way which can lead us to
overlooking a critical response option. This means that we may end up with
consistent data which doesn’t have any rationality. (Beth L Leech, 2002).   


interviews though can provide us with aspect, profundity and an insider’s
perspective, while allow giving us the ability to undergo hypothesis testing
along with quantitative analysis which leads onto interview responses. Semi-
structured interviewing uses open-ended question, this format is often used by elite
interviewers. (Beth L
Leech, 2002).


a sample to study is a crucially important phase in any enquiry as it’s impractical
and not efficient to survey an entire population ((Marshall, 1996) The aim of sampling “is to draw a representative sample from the population, so
that the results of studying the sample can then be generalized back to the
population.” (Marshall, 1996, p552). There is stratified random sampling
along also with area sampling which are both variation of random sampling which
allows us to create a representative sample to represent the population. (Marshall, 1996).  This comes through purposeful
sampling in which in data-rich cases there’s an in-depth study by which much
can be learnt about a central issue of meaning in relation to the
investigation. (Patton, 2002).


I used
the semi-structured approach to interviews as it was the best suited one to use
for my research question in collecting the relevant data. This was mainly due
to the open-ended questions which allowed the participants to elaborate upon
their answers and give me more context to their replies. I interviewed my Flat mate
about his rugby related injuries and applied this to my investigation. I used
the semi-structured interview process along with putting myself as the
interviewer, allowing Patrick to answer in his own context consequently. I
consequently found that Patrick had suffered multiple injuries to his lower
limbs and particularly his fingers. When questioned on why he thought this was
the case he mentioned the increased input upon strength and conditioning due to
the prospect of professionalism giving players extra incentive to train harder,
thus collating with the idea of professionalism causing more injuries (See appendices).


I would’ve changed a decent amount about my project and how I constructed it fully.
I think it would’ve been a better idea to conduct an observation as a more efficient
field method as “Participant
observation combines participation in the lives of the people under study with
the maintenance of professional distance that allows observation and recording
of data” (Fetterman, 1998,p34-35) as it would’ve allowed me to conduct a
more reliable sample with multiple people compared to my single interviewee. I
also could’ve gone onto implement Ethnography into my project as it “involves
the researcher participating, overtly or covertly, in people’s daily lives for
an extended period of time, watching what happens, listening to what is said,
asking questions through informal and formal interviews, collecting documents
and artefacts” (Hammersley 1995,p.3) making use of both interviewing and
textual analysis. There are three essential components to Ethnography in
applicant observation, interviewing and textual analysis (Wolcott, H. F. 2008) which in the future I will aim to apply to my project in
order to make my data more reliable as a consequence by taking in more than one
individual to make my case.




Arksey H, Knight P (1999) Interviewing for Social Scientists: An
introductory resource with examples. London: Sage.,+Knight+P+(1999)+Interviewing+for+Social+Scientists:+An+introductory+resource+with+examples.+London:+Sage.+&ots=JN9e7IjJW_&sig=0xlqGFKZFl7vNeVyRPRZOgQ-wcI#v=onepage&q&f=false


Bathgate, JP Best, G Craig… – British Journal of Sports …, 2002 –


Beth L Leech

PS : political
science and politics , 2002, Vol.35(4), p.665-668


Fetterman, D. M. (1998). Ethnography Step by Step (2nd
Edition). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.


Hammersley, M., & Atkinson, P. (1995). Ethnography:
Principles in practice. London, UK: Routledge.




John HM Brooks Simon PT Kemp

Clinics in
sports medicine. , 2008, Vol.27(1), p.51-73


J P Best A S McIntosh T N Savage

journal of sports medicine. , 2005, Vol.39(11), p.812-817


Km Kaplan

Bulletin of
the NYU Hospital for Joint Diseases. , 2008, Vol.66(2), p.86


Martin N Marshall

practice. , 1996, Vol.13(6), p.522-526


Michael Quinn Patton

social work , 2002, Vol.1(3),


Wolcott, H. F. (2008). Ethnography: a way of seeing. Lanham,
MD: Alta Mira Press





Garraway, AJ Lee, SJ Hutton, E Russell… – British journal of
sports …, 2000 –




Interview protocol: Held in University
of Bath library on Tuesday the 8th of December 2017


Subject: Patrick Reynolds


Can you tell me about your injury profile? Do you remember when you had your
last injury?


PR: I’ve had multiple injuries in my
hands, particularly my fingers and also injures around my lower body, particularly
by groin and hamstring. My last injury was about 2 weeks ago on my fingers.


You stated earlier about your injury history. how often did these pains a tweak
happen in your injured areas?


PR: I think the pain is constant and
it does at times keep me from playing, I broke my thumb a year ago and I was
unable to play for a year.


Probing: Can you
expand on this experience?


PR: It was mentally hard and
physically difficult as such a minor injury kept me out for so long.


What was your reaction to your injury?


PR: I was initially very upset as it
meant I wasn’t going to be able to play for a whole year, however I realized that
in the long term the proper recovery was going to be needed to try and prevent
this happening again in the future.


 Direct: Have you been involved in a major injury   


PR: I was once concussed as a result
of a tackle which was more serious than jut my usual aches and pains.


How do you think your teammates perceived this situation.


PR: It was hard for my teammates as
I was basically out for the entire season and our strength in depth was altered
consequently, it properly tainted team morale also.


Gives time for the interviewer and interviewee contemplate Providing time for
both interviewee and interviewer to


Clarifying: So would you say, since playing
rugby at senior level (18+), you’ve experienced more injuries? If so why do you
think this is.


PR: I’d defiantly say I’ve become
more injured since playing at senior level, probably due to the increased emphasis
on strength and conditioning aspect due to professionalism giving players more emphasis
to improve their physical game as a result

















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