March 11 2021
Despite tackle involvements and close proximity interactions with SARS-CoV-2 positive players, in-match SARS-CoV-2 transmission was not confirmed. While larger datasets are needed, these findings suggest rugby presents a lower risk of viral transmission than previously predicted.Full Article in British Journal of Sports Medicine
Based on four rugby league matches, where 128 players were exposed to eight SARS-CoV-2 positive players, limited transmission was observed during the match. Positive SARS-CoV-2 observations were linked to internal club COVID-19 outbreaks or wider community close contact transmission. Furthermore, there was no observed transmission to match officials involved in the matches. Given the return of community team sports during the COVID-19 pandemic, determining the transmission risk during sports is a priority to balance potential human-to-human viral transmission against the wider physical and mental health benefits of sports participation. An accurate assessment of transmission risk during sport also will inform management recommendations for close contacts and prevent unnecessary isolation. These data provide reassurances that the transmission risk during a rugby match is likely to be very low. Further analysis of other close-contact sport settings and exploration of transmission risk in the training environment should be undertaken to better understand the risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission during sport.