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Author Topic: RFU injury report -- not looking good for fake grass  (Read 825 times)

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Gone

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RFU injury report -- not looking good for fake grass
« on: Thursday 10-Jan-2019, 08:55* »
Really odd presentation by BT Sport on Rugby Tonight of this as if they thought the conclusions weren't serious - but then in the chat they did have a proper discussion. Looked like whoever wrote it didn't really understand the data.

Headlines: (my choices of the serious bits in bold)

- Overall injuries down very slightly but not statistically significant
- Average severity of injuries once again up, average time out now 37 days. Number of less serious injuries fell, but number of more serious injuries rose.
- Concussion most common injury for 7th year in a row
- Significant rise in injuries in training
- Now taken over 5 years there is no difference in frequency of injury on fake grass, BUT there is a difference in severity, injuries are more severe on fake grass
- Injuries on fake grass have 9 days average longer recovery
- Injuries on fake grass are more likely to feature lower limbs and be more severe - mainly hamstring, foot and toe

- There were errors in data in last year's report which mean the injuries on fake grass were underestimated.

Some of the graphs are pretty grim to look at....

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Anyway -- here it is:

https://www.englandrugby.com/mm/Document/General/General/01/33/22/57/InjurySurveillanceReport2017-18_English.pdf

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harlequins

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Not surprised. I personally would not play contact rugby on a plastic pitch.

The Absolute Quintet

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Grim indeed.

Slightly irrelevant story, because fake pitches have improved, but a some hardy soles might recall a good few years back (Gommers was playing) Quins played an A League v Worcester on Brighton RFC's fake pitch because normal pitches everywhere else were totally frozen? It was so cold that the rubber crumb in the plastic grass froze. The knees of the front rows were red raw and players were coming off with bleeding elbows and friction burns.

Of course hybrid pitches are the future but, broadly, they cost as much as 3G to install and as much to maintain as standard sand-based pitches. The 3G option will always be on the table because of this, unless banned outright. But that horse has bolted.
   


Yareet

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Really odd presentation by BT Sport on Rugby Tonight of this as if they thought the conclusions weren't serious - but then in the chat they did have a proper discussion. Looked like whoever wrote it didn't really understand the data.

Headlines: (my choices of the serious bits in bold)

- Overall injuries down very slightly but not statistically significant
- Average severity of injuries once again up, average time out now 37 days. Number of less serious injuries fell, but number of more serious injuries rose.
- Concussion most common injury for 7th year in a row
- Significant rise in injuries in training
- Now taken over 5 years there is no difference in frequency of injury on fake grass, BUT there is a difference in severity, injuries are more severe on fake grass
- Injuries on fake grass have 9 days average longer recovery
- Injuries on fake grass are more likely to feature lower limbs and be more severe - mainly hamstring, foot and toe

- There were errors in data in last year's report which mean the injuries on fake grass were underestimated.


I thought they mentioned that the stats re: concussion severity in and of themselves were perhaps misleading; that because it is measured as an average number of days off, this was skewed by a) people being more aware of concussion and therefore more likely to take the right amount of time off and b) a small number of cases of players taking a long time off.

Gone

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Yes that's true of concussions hence why didn't mention it.

Rates remain about the same, it's recovery time that was skewed by some bad ones.

But in terms of injuries overall, the frequency is constant but the severity is increasing.

Mayor West

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I have talked to a player from South Africa who played for Saracens and he said that he preferred their pitch because it was consistent whatever the weather. He did say that they were more used to harder surfaces out there but didnít think there were more injuries. Although he said he hadnít really studied that at all and went on what was happening to his teammates. He said that scrums were better as slipping on a muddy surface is eliminated.

Gone

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Well heís right - there arenít more injuries - there are the same amount but they are worse.

Mayor West

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I will ask him in more detail next time I see him. I will mention this study or ask if heís seen it.

Gone

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I will ask him in more detail next time I see him. I will mention this study or ask if heís seen it.

It's worth a read, wouldn't want my son playing on one frankly.

Here's their short summary of the data:

AGPs in professional rugby:

There was no significant difference in the incidence, severity or burden of match injuries between artificial turf and grass for the 2017-18 season.
When the data collected over the past five seasons is combined, the incidence of match injuries on natural grass and artificial turf are not different. However, the severity of match injuries on artificial turf is greater than that on natural grass, with an injury sustained on artificial turf lasting, on average, nine days more than one sustained on natural grass (natural grass, 30 days; artificial turf, 39 days). Consequently, the burden of injuries on artificial turf pitches is higher than those on natural grass.
When considering injury risk by body location, both severity and burden were greater for lower limb match injuries sustained on artificial turf with this being most marked for hamstring and foot and toe injuries.
When combining three seasons of training injury data to compare injuries on artificial turf versus natural grass, a similar trend to match injuries is apparent with similar incidence on both turf types while severity and burden and significantly higher on artificial turf.

Here's what the RFU is doing as a result:

4. Artificial grass pitches (AGP): Collaborate with World Rugby on their ongoing review of the appropriate performance standard and post-installation testing and maintenance requirements for AGPs in professional rugby union.  In addition, we will undertake new research to better understand the grip release characteristics of different types and styles of rugby boots. We believe that understanding the unique interaction between a playerís boot and an AGP will enable us to provide evidence-based guidance to players regarding the most appropriate boots to wear on AGPs and mitigate injury risk.

Mayor West

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I wonder what the stats would be at the lower end of rugby. At local club level up to say Esher level ,where the standard of grass pitch wouldnít be the same as a prem club, could artificial pitches be better. I think artificial pitches have their place but not for the semi pro and pro games. The hybrid seems to be the answer at the top level or are there stats for that surface as well that donít look good.

Mayor West

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I saw my ex sarries friend today and asked him about the artificial grass injury report and he hadnít seen it . He was surprised that the injuries were worse and hadnít been aware that it was when I told him the details. He said you do get burns sometimes but you shouldnít be bothered by that if you play rugby. Ironically he injured his knee slipping on a grass surface. Apart from that nothing due to an artificial surface. I would have thought that if the surface was that big a problem that they would have gone back to grass by now. He also said that the game is faster with less mistakes from slips and mud on the ball. He said he prefers it but understand that many still donít.

Gone

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I think if they were only burns they wouldnít have reported it - but not sure if thatís what he meant obvs.

They clearly think the more severe injuries and particularly lower limb somehow relate to boots and studs used.

Guess weíll see.

Itís long been a problem in NFL where cleats get stuck and thatís your knee gone.

Mayor West

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I forgot to say that he said your footwear type is important. You can use shorter smaller studs.

thomh

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Having the same number of injuries but more severe is conceptually bizarre.

Gone

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Having the same number of injuries but more severe is conceptually bizarre.

How so?

It means they're playing the same sport in the same way generating the same number of incidents but those incidents are more serious potentially due to one change in variables - the material used to make the pitch.

It is, of course, still possible that it's due to another factor but since it's a statistically significant finding at this stage, and taken over five years, they've decided to investigate.

 

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