FRIDAY, Dec. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Education and rule
enforcement reduce brain and spinal cord injuries among rugby
players, but wearing protective equipment such as headgear and
mouthguards does not lower the risk, says a new review.
Canadian researchers came to that conclusion after analyzing
previous studies of strategies to prevent brain and spinal cord
injuries in rugby players, including six that examined the use of
headgear and/or mouthguards and four that focused on a multifaceted
injury prevention program.
Four studies found no evidence that rugby headgear (a
soft-shelled helmet with thin padding) reduced these types of
injuries. One study found that players who used mouthguards were
less likely to suffer concussion and loss of consciousness, while
three studies showed no protective effective.
But four studies found that a New Zealand education and rule
enforcement program called RugbySmart significantly reduced
The review findings appear in the November issue of the journal
"Given the increasing popularity of rugby and the high rates of neurological injuries, better designed randomized controlled studies with sufficient power and across different settings should be performed to understand the role of protective equipment and educational, legal, and economic interventions," concluded the University of Toronto researchers.
The American Association of Neurological Surgeons has more about
sports-related head injury.