Background Injuries to youth rugby players have become an increasingly prominent health concern, highlighting the importance of developing and implementing appropriate preventive strategies. A growing body of evidence from other youth sports has demonstrated the efficacy of targeted exercise regimens to reduce injury risk. However, studies have yet to investigate the effect of such interventions in youth contact sport populations like rugby union.
Objective To determine the efficacy of an evidence-based movement control exercise programme compared with a sham exercise programme to reduce injury risk in youth rugby players. Exercise programme compliance between trial arms and the effect of coach attitudes on compliance will also be evaluated.
Setting School rugby coaches in England will be the target of the researcher intervention, with the effects of the injury prevention programmes being measured in male youth players aged 14–18 years in school rugby programmes over the 2015–2016 school winter term.
Methods A cluster-randomised controlled trial with schools randomly allocated to either a movement control exercise programme or a sham exercise programme, both of which are coach-delivered. Injury measures will derive from field-based injury surveillance, with match and training exposure and compliance recorded. A questionnaire will be used to evaluate coach attitudes, knowledge, beliefs and behaviours both prior to and on the conclusion of the study period.
Outcome measures Summary injury measures (incidence, severity and burden) will be compared between trial arms, as will the influence of coach attitudes on compliance and injury burden. Additionally, changes in these outcomes through using the exercise programmes will be evaluated.
Trial registration number ISRTCNN13422001.
- Contact sports
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