As part of the RugbySafe commitment, the RFU is constantly engaged with research into player safety. It conducts its own research, commissions independent studies and collaborates closely with other sports and rugby unions. The RFU believes it is important to share this information widely and openly publishes the findings.

Below you will find information and links to a wide range of player welfare projects, some of which are the first of their kind in the sport.

Research Projects

The RFU is passionate about prioritising player welfare and minimising the risk of illness and injury to players in all formats of the game.

Activate is an evidence-based injury prevention exercise programme that can be integrated into training and pre-match sessions. Exercises are designed to improve functional and core strength, balance and agility, helping players with the game’s physical demands.

Injury Surveillance Reports and Prevention Projects

In order to prevent injuries, it’s essential to understand the injury landscape of our sport.

The RFU commissions an annual Injury Surveillance Report and Prevention Project in the professional, amateur, women’s and youth formats of the game. These reports form one of the largest and longest running injury surveillance projects in the world. They are freely available to the general public and allow for the targeted investigation of specific areas of injury risk and the development of evidence-based strategies to reduce injury risk.

The Injury Surveillance Reports and Prevention Projects are:

This is an annual study that was first commissioned by the RFU and Premiership Rugby in 2002.

PRISP monitors injury incidence (how often), injury severity (days absence) and injury burden (incidence x severity) in English Premiership Clubs and the England Senior team.

The main objectives of PRISP are to accurately report the risk of injury in the professional game and to highlight any patterns or trends over time. This allows for the targeted investigation of specific areas of injury risk and the development of evidence-based strategies to reduce injury risk.

The CRISP Project is managed by a team at the University of Bath and funded by the RFU as part of the RugbySafe research strand.

Now running for ten consecutive rugby seasons, the CRISP project is the longest continuously running large-scale injury surveillance programme of any community sport in the UK. The project involves the voluntary participation of a sample of English clubs across RFU playing levels 3-9 who provide information on injuries which occur during 1st XV matches. The purpose is to understand more about the number of injuries and types of injuries occurring, how they happen and how they might be reduced.

2010 - 2011 Report

CRISP 2010-2011

2011 - 2012 Report

CRISP 2011-2012

2012 - 2013 Report

CRISP 2012-2013

2013 - 2014 Report

CRISP 2013-2014

2014 - 2015 Report

CRISP 2014-2015

2015 - 2016 Report

CRISP 2015-2016

2016 - 2017 Report

CRISP 2016-2017

2017 - 2018 Report

CRISP 2017-2018

2017-2018 was the first season of injury surveillance for the Women’s Tyrrells Premier 15s League competition.

The Women’s Rugby Injury Surveillance Project (WRISP) is pivotal in both providing the baseline data needed to assess trends in injury risk, and in guiding further investigation into injuries that are common, severe, or increasing in incidence.

The Youth Rugby Injury Surveillance Project (YRISP) collects match exposure and match injuries from schools across England at the under-13, under-15 and under-18 age groups.

The aim of the project is to better understand the risk, types and mechanisms of injuries in schoolboy rugby across different age groups. This will allow us to better inform injury prevention strategies, such as rule changes, so that the safety of the game can be improved for those participating.


Headcase is recognised as one of the UK’s leading concussion awareness and education resources.

The RFU’s HEADCASE programme aims to increase understanding and provide information on concussion and other related topics, including how to prevent and manage suspected concussions.

To learn more complete one of the free online education HEADCASE  modules.

Some of the RFU’s work on concussion is featured in the Latest Research section below.


Members of the RFU Science & Medical are involved in a number of national and international research projects. Details of these can be found on the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

This includes other topical publications and content concerning player welfare. The page is updated on a quarterly basis.

The World Rugby Science Network

The World Rugby Science Network is a global network of researchers who are interested in the study of the Rugby Football codes. The aim is to provide a forum which brings together the expertise of academics and professionals working in the Game. By sharing good Rugby science practice and discussing future directions, we can enhance the scientific study of the Game and work to ensure that Rugby science becomes Rugby practice where possible