The Professional Rugby Injury Surveillance Project’s (PRISP) report for 2015-16 has recently been published. The long-term study is made possible by a bespoke performance management and monitoring system, developed for rugby authorities by The Sports Office.
The study is intended to improve professional player welfare and is the most comprehensive of its type. The project was first commissioned in 2002 and was jointly created by the RFU, Premier Rugby and the Rugby Players Association. It monitors player injury risk in Premiership, European club and representative competition, as well as in training.
The Sports Office worked with senior medical staff at the RFU to design and develop a powerful system which allows sports medicine and performance personnel at participating clubs and national teams to easily input an extensive range of medical and performance data. The system allows for this information to be shared immediately with coaches, directors of rugby and other key staff. The system also compiles the collected data to generate baselines, create comprehensive reports and identify patterns and trends of injuries via comparison with previous seasons.
Sports Office Client Manager Neil Holland commented: “It’s pleasing to see that the Professional Rugby Injury Surveillance Project continues to provide the sport with important data that can help improve standards of player welfare and medical management. Our system is a powerful tool and resource to support this long-term study and hence the ongoing work of rugby’s sports medicine and performance practitioners.”
Holland added: “We continue to work with our clients at the RFU, Premier Rugby and other governing bodies to offer them the levels of support they require. We look forward to playing our part in further improving this crucial aspect of the sport.”
Speaking in a press release about the report, jointly issued by the RFU and Premier Rugby, RFU Chief Medical Officer Simon Kemp said: “This is an important study that helps us understand injury trends in the professional game in England. Since this surveillance project began in 2002 the injury rate has remained relatively stable however last season has shown a decline in match injuries; lower than any other season.
“We need to be cautious about interpreting the data in a Rugby World Cup year that led to a change in the domestic season structure. We certainly can’t now say that the professional game is safer from these single-season results and we need to continue to monitor injury risk to clarify if this is a trend or not.”
Previously Simon Kemp has also praised The Sports Office’ work in the development of the performance management and monitoring system for the project. He said: “The Sports Office system provides a comprehensive electronic medical record with an integrated injury surveillance function.
“It’s fundamental to the delivery of sports medicine care to our Premiership and England representative team players. Our players, medical staff and performance teams all derive significant benefits.”
In the same joint press release about the recent PRISP report, Corin Palmer, Head of Rugby Operations at Premiership Rugby, also said: “Player welfare is Premiership Rugby’s number one priority and the Professional Rugby Injury Surveillance Project continues to provide important information which allows us alongside our 12 clubs to establish and maintain world-class standards when treating any player who has been injured in any way.”
Among the key findings from the PRISP report for 2015-16 season were that the incidence of match injuries in the Premiership was lower than reported in any previous season. Data collection during the 2016-17 season will help clarify whether this is the start of a trend towards a lower overall injury incidence or an atypical year. A copy of the PRISP report for 2015-16 season and further details can be read on the Aviva Premiership Rugby website, here.
The Sports Office provides online performance management systems for elite sport, which offer a range of functionality. The systems support key performance processes including athlete monitoring and training load management, injury prevention, sports science, sports medicine, administration, coaching and sports analytics.
Among the company’s varied client base, are many elite rugby organisations. These include national governing bodies, teams in SANZAR’s Super Rugby competition, the Australian NRL and many clubs in the UK’s Rugby League Super League.