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Br J Sports Med. 2012 Jun;46(7):499-504. doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2012-091046. Epub 2012 May 25.

Illness during the 2010 Super 14 Rugby Union tournament - a prospective study involving 22 676 player days.

Author information

1
Department of Human Biology, UCT/MRC Research Unit for Exercise Science and Sports Medicine, Newlands, Cape Town 7700, South Africa. mschwell@iafrica.com

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Illness accounts for a significant proportion of consultations with a team physician travelling with elite athletes.

OBJECTIVE:

To determine the incidence, type, cause and consequences of illness in Rugby Union players participating in a 16-week tournament.

SETTING:

8 teams participating in the 2010 Super 14 Rugby tournament Participants A cohort of 259 elite rugby players from eight teams was recruited.

ASSESSMENT:

All players were followed daily over the 16-week competition period (22 676 player days). Each day, team physicians completed an illness log with 100% compliance. Information included the daily squad size and illness details including system affected, final diagnosis, type and onset of symptoms, training/match days lost and suspected cause.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASUREMENT:

Incidence of illness (illness per 1000 player days).

RESULTS:

The incidence of illness in the cohort was 20.7/1000 player days (95% CI 18.5 to 23.1) with the highest incidence of illness in the respiratory system (6.4: 95% CI 5.5 to 7.3), gastrointestinal system (5.6: 95% CI 4.9 to 6.6) and the skin and subcutaneous tissue (4.6; 95% CI 4.0 to 5.4). Infections accounted for 54.5% of all illness and 26.1% of illness resulted in time loss of ≥1 day. In over 50% of illnesses, symptoms were present for ≥1 day before being reported to the team physician.

CONCLUSION:

Infective illness involving the respiratory tract and gastrointestinal tract together with dermatological illness was common in elite rugby players participating in this international tournament. A delay in reporting of symptoms >24 h could have important clinical implications in player medical care.

PMID:
22554839
DOI:
10.1136/bjsports-2012-091046
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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