04 February 2020

Players in rugby's Women's Super League to take part in landmark study to reduce injuries

Rugby league's Women's Super League are launching a landmark study to reduce injuries for female players.

A similar study has been taking place in the men's game for the past five years and it is now being extended to the women's league.

The season-long study is being conducted by Leeds Beckett University in order to determine the demand on England players ahead of the Rugby League World Cup next year.

Players in the WSL will take part in an injury and concussion surveillance study.

Leading the study is Professor Ben Jones, the head of performance for England Rugby League. He told the Telegraph: “This study will help us understand what the biggest risks are to female players from a welfare perspective.

"What does their training look like? What are their match demands? That allows us to put in interventions to improve performance and prevent injury.

“The data will provide information on the physical profile of female rugby league players and how they change over a season which will support coaches on how to train the female athlete and, in turn, drive forward performance and standards, creating more competition and more world-class players."

The players will wear GPS trackers during specific matches to analyse the demands on them to determine whether changes need to be made to the WSL. For example, in the English league the games run for 80 minutes but in Australia's Women's National Rugby League they only play for 60.

Courtney Hill, captain of defending WSL champions Leeds Rhinos, has already taken part in the first stage of the study which includes power, speed and strength assessments. She said: "We know injuries are part of any sport and can limit players hugely in that capacity.

"If we can somehow reduce that, the only way we can do that is through research, knowledge and understanding, then we’re going in the right direction.”

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