To establish the incidence and nature of knee time-loss injuries in English community rugby and to assess differences between different levels of play and between playing positions.
Over 6 rugby seasons (2009-10 to 2014-15), medical staff from English community rugby union clubs reported information for match play knee injuries resulting in eight days or greater absence.
There was an overall incidence of 2.7 knee injuries per 1000 player match hours with an average severity of 10.7 weeks absence. There was no difference between semi-professional (3.1 95% CI 2.6-3.7), amateur (2.6 95% CI 2.2-3.0) and recreational (2.6 95% CI 2.2-2.9) playing levels. The most common diagnoses were medial collateral ligament (30% of all injuries) and anterior collateral ligament injuries (19%). Contact events accounted for 75% of all injuries (41% attributed to being tackled) while 15% of all injuries were attributed twisting/turning movements (15% of all injuries). There was no difference in knee injury incidence between forwards and backs.
The knee is one of the most commonly injured sites with a relatively high time-loss compared with other injuries.