Player Welfare

The RFU takes player welfare very seriously and it is at the heart of all the training we deliver to coaches, referees and medics, at all levels of the game

As the World Rugby laws manual states, however, rugby union is a sport which involves physical contact. Any sport involving physical contact has inherent dangers. It is very important that players play the game in accordance with the laws of the game and be mindful of the safety of themselves and others.

It is the responsibility of players to ensure that they are physically and technically prepared in a manner which enables them to play the game, comply with the laws of the game and participate in accordance with safe practices.

It is the responsibility of those who coach or teach the game to ensure that players are prepared in a manner which ensures compliance with the laws of the game and in accordance with safe practices

The sections above can help players and those who support them to understand more about how to prevent, recognise and manage injuries as well as learn about the positive health benefits of rugby.

The RFU is committed to improving player welfare through the evaluation and management of injuries. Central to this are effective Injury and Illness surveillance programmes. The Professional Rugby Injury Surveillance Project 2013/14 season report (PDF 2.2MB) was published on 12 February 2015 and is an in-depth study of the time-loss injuries and illnesses sustained by Premiership first team players. The report, which has been produced since 2002 and is the most comprehensive injury dataset in professional rugby union, found that the overall risk of match and training injury across Premiership Rugby clubs remained within the “expected range” of season-by-season variation.

The full report can be downloaded above.

The RFU Community Rugby Injury Surveillance Project is now in its eighth year, examining data from over 100 grassroots clubs, playing at levels 3-9.

The latest season report is available here (PDF 692kB), which shows the key finding that within community rugby the injury rate significantly decreases as the club's league level lowers. This study is used to inform our coach education programmes such as Rugby Ready and the online coaching academy, which will contain significant elements on injury prevention.