National Research Foundation (NRF)
University of Cape Town
South African Rugby Union
Rugby union (hence ‘rugby’) is an international sport played in over 100 countries worldwide, at amateur and professional levels. Within South Africa, rugby is extremely popular with approximately 600,000 participants. The injury incidence and severity of rugby is reported to be one of the highest of all sports. This is largely explained by the high frequency of collisions between players, inherent to the sport. This high burden of injuries in rugby has required preventative measures to be implemented.
The BokSmart programme was launched in South Africa in 2009 by the South African Rugby Union (SARU) for the purpose of reducing the burden of injury associated with rugby. BokSmart attempts to achieve this goal by educating all rugby coaches and referees within South Africa on safer playing techniques. The BokSmart programme has compiled much research regarding the injury incidence and severity as well as risk factors for injury within South Africa. Based on the ‘sequence of prevention’, the next logical step is the development of improved injury prevention proposals. To this end, the BokSmart programme has launched the “Safe Six” injury prevention initiative. The “Safe Six” initiative is based on similar principles to those of the successful FIFA’s F-Marc 11+, whereby exercises are incorporated into the warm-up with the goal of reducing the risk of injury. In the case of BokSmart six exercises, specific to the demands of rugby, are incorporated into a warm-up program for rugby players.
The aim of this research project is threefold. Firstly, to determine the awareness, implementation, ease of use and perceptions surrounding the exercises incorporated into the “Safe Six” initiative. Secondly, to determine the compliance and current use of the “Safe Six” within schools, clubs, and professional rugby union teams in South Africa. Thirdly, a longitudinal intervention study with various teams, to determine the efficacy of the “Safe Six” exercises in preventing injuries.