Wearable Applications in Rugby for Performance Quantification and Player Health Assessment: A Brief Review

Colbert Lehra, Othmane Omalekb, Sam Osborne, Zachary Warren, David Saucier, Reuben F. Burch V, John Ball, Harish Chanderd


Background: Wearable technology use in sports has amassed increased attention in recent years. Technological advancements have provided less labor-intensive methods for practitioners and athletes to track kinematic movements, workload metrics, and biometric markers to assess performance and safety. As such, wearables research has spread to a variety of sports; however, the specific wearable technologies used in the rugby codes—rugby league and rugby union—have not been reviewed. Objective: Herein, we present a review that aims to understand the use of wearable technology for performance demand quantification and player health assessment in rugby league and rugby union. Method: We classify extant scientific wearable literature into four research categories: Prehabilitation (preventative rehabilitation), Performance, Rehabilitation, and Data Analysis. Results: Eighteen articles were found using predefined inclusion and exclusion criteria and were grouped into these four research categories. Through this review process, Global Positioning System or GPS-based wearables were found to be utilized more when compared to all other wearable devices associated with peer-reviewed studies for the sport of rugby. In general, wearables were found to be used to support player and practitioner efforts to promote health and ensure peak performance prior to competition. Wearables were also used to determine injury severity and mitigation strategies—such as collision monitoring—and to develop positional activity profiles. Conclusion: Data collected through wearable technology may enhance rugby conditioning programs by enabling the tracking of numerous aspects of training performance and safety in competitive match play. Future research is warranted for standardization of player evaluation and injury predictive modeling.


Rugby, Wearable Electronic Devices, Exercise, Preoperative Exercises, Athletic Performance

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7575/aiac.ijkss.v.10n.2p.1


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