The findings of a study carried out by the School of Sport, Health and applied Science at St Mary's University in Twickenham, suggests the incidence of head injuries in children who play rugby is almost 13 per 1000 match hours, higher than previously thought.
The prospective community-level cohort study, published in the Journal of the Neurological Sciences, included 489 junior Rugby Union players (U9-U18) over 4 seasons.
The data showed a combined reported match head injury incidence of 12.7 (95% CI, 9.2-17.5) per 1000 match hours played across all age groups was. The highest reported rate was 23.1 (95% CI, 9.6-55.6) per 1000 match hours in the U12 group. The lowest incidence was seen in the U15 (11.1 [95% CI, 5.0-24.7] per 1000 match hours) and U16 (11.1 [95% CI, 5.3 to 23.3] per 1000 match hours) groups.
The median reduction in King-Devick (K-D) test performance speed post-injury from baseline was 7.32 second. A median of 5.1 days/tests were taken for players to surpass baseline performance. No correlation was found between initial post-injury test and cognitive recovery time. The authors advised that post-injury K-D test performance should not be used as a means to predict symptom recovery.