Versus Arthritis Centre for Sport, Exercise and Osteoarthritis
University of Nottingham

The Rugby Health and Wellbeing Study 


Rugby football (Union and League) is a source of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity, and physical activity is related to physical and mental health benefits. However, it is a collision sport, and there are risks of musculoskeletal injury and concussion.  
The Rugby Health and Well-being Study aims to provide a greater understanding of the risks and benefits of rugby participation in a diverse sample of men and women, current and former rugby Union and League players from recreational to the elite level of play. Several health outcomes will be explored: joint-specific injuries and concussion, joint pain and osteoarthritis, medical and mental health conditions, physical activity and sedentary behaviour and well-being (quality of life, flourishing and resilience).  
Further, this study will inform the design of future prospective studies that will evaluate and validate the prediction tool for osteoarthritis in recreational and elite rugby players. 

Aims and Objectives:

The specific focus areas that will be addressed are: 

  1. Injury in current and former recreational and elite rugby players across playing standards.
  2. Pain and osteoarthritis in current and former rugby players across playing standards.
  3. Physical activity in current and former rugby players across playing standards.
  4. General health in current and former rugby players across playing standards.
  5. Quality of life and resilience in current and former rugby players across playing standards 


  • Panagodage Perera N.K, Filbay S.R, Griffin S.A, Gates L, Murray A, Hawkes R, Arden N.K. Rugby Health and Well-Being Study: protocol for a UK-wide survey with health data cross-validation BMJ Open 2021; doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2020-041037 
  • Griffin S, Perera NKP, et al. The relationships between rugby union and health: a scoping review protocol. BMJ Open Sport Exerc Med. 2019 Aug 1;5(1):e000593. doi: 10.1136/bmjsem-2019-000593 
Work Package Early Disease and Risk Prediction: Prevent
Objective   1.2 
Lead TBC
Investigators Carly McKay and James Bilzon
Institution University of Bath


rugby scrum 240x150