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Injuries and illnesses

The biggest cause of morbidity and training time lost in demanding occupations and elite sport is due to injuries and illnesses

Rugby players on a pitch
Our research looks at how we can reduce the impact of illness and injury in sports and other physically demanding occupations

Research into injuries and illnesses aims to maintain, enhance or re-establish human function in sports performers and personnel employed in arduous occupations.

Our research in injuries and illnesses has been undertaken by Dr Keith Stokes, Dr Grant Trewartha, Dr James Bilzon and Dr Ezio Preatoni – and has been funded by stakeholders who directly benefit from the research (Ministry of Defence, Rugby Football Union, and International Rugby Board).

Our research has had a significant impact on reducing the burden of injury and illness in military training and sport.

Military training

We have engaged practitioner communities in evidence-based approaches to injury and illness prevention. It has contributed directly to reducing the burden of musculoskeletal injuries and heat illness by informing military personnel selection, training and healthcare policies. This affects approximately 20,000 military trainees per-year and has resulted in reduced morbidity and estimated training/medical costs of over £60 million per-annum.


Our injury surveillance research has helped shape the Rugby Football Union’s (RFU) medical safety policy and, based on our research, the International Rugby Board (governing five million players worldwide) announced in May 2013 a global trial of new scrum laws designed to reduce the incidence/severity of neck injuries.

Impact case study

This research was submitted to the Research Excellence Framework 2014.

Research impact

Download impact case study