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Tendon and Ligament Injuries in Elite Rugby: The Potential Genetic Influence

Sports Genomics Laboratory, Department of Sport and Exercise Sciences, Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester M1 5GD, UK
Department of Psychology and Sports Sciences, University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield AL10 9AB, UK
Sport, Exercise and Life Sciences, University of Northampton, Northampton NN1 5PH, UK
Faculty of Science and Engineering, University of Wolverhampton, Wolverhampton WV1 1LY, UK
Physiotherapy and Sports Science, University College Dublin, D04 V1W8 Dublin, Ireland
Premiership Rugby, Twickenham TW1 3QS, UK
Institute of Sport, Exercise and Health, University College London, London WC1E 6BT, UK
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sports 2019, 7(6), 138;
Received: 9 May 2019 / Revised: 29 May 2019 / Accepted: 30 May 2019 / Published: 4 June 2019
This article reviews tendon and ligament injury incidence and severity within elite rugby union and rugby league. Furthermore, it discusses the biological makeup of tendons and ligaments and how genetic variation may influence this and predisposition to injury. Elite rugby has one of the highest reported injury incidences of any professional sport. This is likely due to a combination of well-established injury surveillance systems and the characteristics of the game, whereby high-impact body contact frequently occurs, in addition to the high intensity, multispeed and multidirectional nature of play. Some of the most severe of all these injuries are tendon and ligament/joint (non-bone), and therefore, potentially the most debilitating to a player and playing squad across a season or World Cup competition. The aetiology of these injuries is highly multi-factorial, with a growing body of evidence suggesting that some of the inter-individual variability in injury susceptibility may be due to genetic variation. However, little effort has been devoted to the study of genetic injury traits within rugby athletes. Due to a growing understanding of the molecular characteristics underpinning the aetiology of injury, investigating genetic variation within elite rugby is a viable and worthy proposition. Therefore, we propose several single nucleotide polymorphisms within candidate genes of interest; COL1A1, COL3A1, COL5A1, MIR608, MMP3, TIMP2, VEGFA, NID1 and COLGALT1 warrant further study within elite rugby and other invasion sports. View Full-Text
Keywords: genomics; rugby; polymorphisms; soft-tissue injury; tendinopathy; ligament rupture genomics; rugby; polymorphisms; soft-tissue injury; tendinopathy; ligament rupture
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Brazier, J.; Antrobus, M.; Stebbings, G.K.; Day, S.H.; Heffernan, S.M.; Cross, M.J.; Williams, A.G. Tendon and Ligament Injuries in Elite Rugby: The Potential Genetic Influence. Sports 2019, 7, 138.

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