University of Limerick
Griffin_2021_Examination.pdf (5.48 MB)

An examination of injury risk and subjective measures of training in amateur Rugby Union

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posted on 2023-02-10, 14:34 authored by Alan Griffin
Introduction: Amateur Rugby Union has an inherent risk of injury that is associated with detrimental effects on player welfare and team performance. The monitoring of players’ preparedness for, and response to, training has become an integral tool for coaches in injury risk management as it may aid in the prescription and design of training. A training monitoring system (TMS) should be both attainable and scientifically grounded, however, there is a paucity of information in relation to monitoring training at the amateur level and the inherent challenges this presents. Aim: The aim of this doctoral research was to explore the associations between subjective measures of training load (TL) and wellness with injury occurrence in match-play and training sessions in amateur rugby in Ireland. Fundamentally, this programme of research aimed to offer practical methods of monitoring training that has the potential to mitigate injury risk and, in turn, benefit the health and wellbeing of players. Methods: Five studies were conducted in this programme of research which: (1) systematically reviewed and critically appraised the existing relevant literature regarding associations between the acute:chronic workload ratio (ACWR), and injury in team sports (Chapter Three), (2) established the current training monitoring practices of practitioners working with in amateur Rugby Union clubs (Chapter Four), (3) developed and evaluated an online TMS (Chapter Five), examined methods of addressing missing TL using missing value imputation (MVI) (Chapter Six), and (5) explored possible associations between subjective self-reported measures of wellness, various training load metrics, and injury in amateur Rugby Union. Results: The findings of the systematic review support the association between the ACWR and non-contact injuries and its use as a valuable tool for monitoring TL as part of a larger scale multifaceted monitoring system that includes other proven methods. 72.7% of practitioners working with amateur Rugby Union clubs monitored training with the most common method being the session rate of perceived exertion (sRPE), used in 83.3% of monitoring systems. The 3 most prominent challenges to motoring training were found to be lack of player compliance, data inconsistency and match-day challenges. Practitioners should strive to keep missing TL data at a minimum, however imputing missing data with the Daily Team Mean (DTMean) was the most accurate MVI method of the twelve MWI methods examined. Lastly, logistic regression found significant, strong associations (odds ratio (OR) = 6.172, 95% CI = 0.254 – 0.473, p < 0.001) between the occurrence of injury and the summative score of overall wellness (0-day lag). Significant weak associations were found between the occurrence of injury and the majority of ACWR calculations when 3-day and 7-day injury lag periods were applied. Conclusion: The findings of this programme of research support the positive association between injury and both subjective wellness and TL. Monitoring training of amateur athletes has its own unique challenges and confounders (e.g., limited time with players, occupation of players, resources available). Practitioners must accept that due to the complexity of injury, a risk will always be present and instead focus on prescribing training that they deem will promote positive adaptations in a safe manner. However, a TMS consisting of subjective measures may mitigate injury risk in amateur Rugby Union by supporting decisions around training prescription.


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  • Faculty of Education and Health Sciences


  • Doctoral

First supervisor

Mark Lyons

Second supervisor

Ian C. Kenny

Third supervisor

Thomas M. Comyns



Other Funding information




Department or School

  • Physical Education and Sports Science

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