BACKGROUND: Governing bodies are largely responsible for the monitoring and management of risks associated with a safe playing environment, yet adherence to regulations is currently unknown. The aim of this study was to investigate and evaluate the current status of medical personnel, facilities, and equipment in Rugby Union clubs at regional level in England.
METHODS: A nationwide cross-sectional survey of 242 registered clubs was undertaken, where clubs were surveyed online on their current medical personnel, facilities, and equipment provision, according to regulation 9 of the Rugby Football Union (RFU).
RESULTS: Overall, 91 (45. 04%) surveys were returned from the successfully contacted recipients. Of the completed responses, only 23.61% (n = 17) were found to be compliant with regulations. Furthermore, 30.56% (n = 22) of clubs were unsure if their medical personnel had required qualifications; thus, compliance could not be determined. There was a significant correlation (p = -0.029, r = 0.295) between club level and numbers of practitioners. There was no significant correlation indicated between the number of practitioners/number of teams and number of practitioners/number of players. There were significant correlations found between club level and equipment score (p = 0.003, r = -0.410), club level and automated external defibrillator (AED) access (p = 0.002, r = -0.352) and practitioner level and AED access (p = 0.0001, r = 0.404). Follow-up, thematic analysis highlighted widespread club concern around funding/cost, awareness, availability of practitioners and AED training.
CONCLUSION: The proportion of clubs not adhering overall compliance with Regulation 9 of the RFU is concerning for player welfare, and an overhaul, nationally, is required.
Bibliographical noteThe final publication is available at Springer via https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11845-018-1913-z
- First aid
- Injury prevention
- Medical provision
- Rugby union