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Tag rugby: a safe alternative? A review of hand injuries sustained playing tag rugby (2007 season)
  1. M E O'Keeffe,
  2. F J Conroy,
  3. J Kelly,
  4. P Regan,
  5. J McCann
  1. Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, University College Hospital, Galway, Ireland
  1. Correspondence to Dr Michael O'Keeffe, Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, University College Hospital, Galway, Ireland


Introduction Tag rugby is a non-contact, seven-a-side, team sport in which each player wears specially designed shorts with velcro ‘tags’ attached to them. While tag rugby is a relatively new sport it has grown rapidly in popularity. As a result of its increasing popularity an increased frequency of attendances at plastic surgery clinics was observed and it was decided a review of all hand injuries associated with this new sport was required.

Materials and Methods A retrospective case note review of all hand injuries occurring during the tag rugby season for 2007 (March–August) was conducted, with any tag rugby-related hand injuries being selected for further examination.

Results Tag rugby, while being a non-contact sport, is certainly not without a definite injury risk with 12 patients having single digit injuries, ranging from tendon avulsions to phalangeal fractures. The mean age of the injured patients was 26.8 years.

Discussion All of the hand injuries were sustained while ‘tackling’ during regular play, the hand injuries sustained were all treated using well-described methods and all the patients are recovering well. While the risk of a severe, life-threatening injury is unlikely while playing tag rugby, there is a real risk of sustaining a potentially debilitating hand injury.

  • Hand injury

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.