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Women's rugby injury research project launched

The largest ever women-specific rugby injury research project has been launched by a senior and highly experienced team of researchers and practitioners from across the world of sports science and medicine.

The largest ever women-specific rugby injury research project has been launched by a senior and highly experienced team of researchers and practitioners from across the world of sports science and medicine.

Kicking off with a Global Women’s Rugby Survey, the team have highlighted a significant gap in research into women’s rugby players and they are seeking to form an evidence base to inform targeted, women-specific interventions for improving player safety.

Although rugby research and data-led techniques have unearthed some differences between head injuries in males and females using products like video footage and instrumented mouthguards, most injury prevention techniques are  based  on male specific data, meaning law changes and training methods are currently all focused on male priority injuries and male injury mechanisms.

The group cited the research done around concussions as evidence of the need for much more intelligence around injuries among women’s players.

The single study investigating concussion mechanisms in women discovered that while in men most concussions are caused by collisions between players, that this was not true of female players, who were instead vulnerable to concussion whilst falling from contact. Despite this, current recommendations to prevent concussion do not account for these differences. Instead the current changes to contact technique, coaching practices and concussion protocols are likely to only be beneficial for male players, the group believe.

The initial piece of work emerging from the Global Survey, will enable the team of researchers to understand female specific issues better, including how menstrual cycles affect training and performance and how much education is provided to women and girls before playing their first games.

Questions are asked within it to help the team to understand the training opportunities offered to women, injury history and medical provision available from the perspective of players and their coaches.

The team leading the work includes

- Dr Elisabeth Williams (PI) a Senior Lecturer in Applied Biomechanics at Swansea UniversityD
- Dr Izzy Moore Dr Moore who leads injury epidemiology projects for professional rugby in Wales
- Dr Genevieve Williams an expert in biomechanics and motor control at the University of Exeter
- Dr Stacy Sims,   a senior lecturer at the University of Waikato in New Zealand and an xpert in human performance, specifically sex differences in training, nutrition, and environmental conditions
- Dr Olga Roldan-Reoyo an expert in prenatal exercise and founder of Women Move Beyond
- Dr Anna Stodter a Senior Lecturer in Sports Coaching and Physical Education at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, and former Scottish international
- Dr Natalie Brown an expert in Female health and the menstrual cycle at Swansea University
- Professor Kelly Mackintosh who leads the Exercise, Medicine and Health Research Group at Swansea University and is the Director of the Welsh Institute of Physical Activity, Health and Sport (WIPAHS)
- Lesley McBride Lesley a senior lecturer at Coventry University in Physiotherapy and Manual therapy courses who is also employed by England Rugby
- Joanna Perkins a medicine physiotherapist, specialising in women’s health who consults to the Welsh women’s rugby team.
- Freja Petrie, aPhD candidate at Swansea University, who recently completed a master'sthesistitled ‘A kinematic analysis of head acceleration events in collegiate and elite women’s rugby union’.
- Dr Natalie Hardake, fa researcher at Auckland University of Technology in NZ, who specialises in sex differences, concussion and recovery and is a competitive short-course triathlete. 

Players and coaches (who can be men or women), can take part using the following links.


English Coach

English Player

Cantonese Coach

Cantonese Player

French Coach

French Player

German Coach

German Player

Italian Coach

Italian Player

Japanese Coach

Japanese Player

Mandarin Coach

Mandarin Player

Portuguese Coach

Portuguese Player

Russian Coach

Russian Player

Spanish Coach

Spanish Player

Turkish Coach

Turkish Player