Department for Health

Injuries & illnesses


Rugby scrum

— A major change to international rugby laws affecting scrums should significantly reduce long-term back injuries.


Why do we research this area?

Injuries and illnesses represent the biggest cause of morbidity and training time lost in demanding occupations and elite sport. This carries a substantial cost to both individuals and organisations. Evidence-based approaches to reduce or prevent the burden of injury and illness are therefore needed.

What do we do?

Out research aims to:

  1. understand the scale of the injury or illness problem in a given context
  2. identify the independent risk factors and then
  3. develop and evaluate strategies to reduce incidence and/or severity of injuries or illness.

The research methodology includes injury epidemiology and prevention studies, laboratory and field-based biomechanical measures, in vivo assessments of muscle function and studies designed to understand the physiological mechanisms predisposing individuals to dysfunctional outcomes.

Examples of our research

Project title Aim/findings People and Partners Funder
Pathophysiology of Exertional Heat Illness in Military Personnel A prospective cohort study to investigate the physiological mechanisms which predispose humans to Exertional Heat Illness (EHI) Ministry of Defence (Army)
The influence of smoking on performance and physiological status during military training To explore the impact of smoking and other lifestyle factors on performance adaptations and injury risk in military trainees Ministry of Defence (Army)
Working in Extreme Environments To investigate the influence of extreme environments on physiological and perceived responses to arduous physical work Ministry of Defence (Army)
British Library
Cofely Ltd.
Biomechanics of the Rugby Scrum To characterise the physical demands of modified scrum engagement techniques to reduce the risk of player injury International Rugby Board
RFU Community and Youth Rugby Injury Surveillance To establish the injury patterns within community-level rugby to identify risk factors and propose injury prevention measures Rugby Football Union