Sports Research

*Research Published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine Concludes “[SARS-CoV-2] transmission risk during a rugby match is likely to be very low”*

A study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine on February 11, 2021 titled, “SARS-CoV-2 transmission during rugby league matches: do players become infected after participating with SARS-CoV-2 positive players?” came to the following conclusion.

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.

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.

Full Article in British Journal of Sports Medicine

Karl Fix first brought our attention to the research when the local Regina Leader-Post paper published an article on March 8th 2021 referencing the study and another study involving soccer. The Regina Leader article is titled “Experts Game to Explore COVID-19 in Athletes”

Regina Leader-Post Article Courtesy of Karl Fix

We’ve written a number of articles on the Spanish Influenza of 1918-19 and how it affected Victoria. Many of the restrictions being enforced during COVID were also enforced back then, mass gatherings, indoor events and indoor sports were banned but outdoor sports like rugby and soccer were allowed. You can read the articles starting with the latest which links back to earlier articles.

Rugby in Victoria During the Spanish Flu Pandemic of 1918-19: Part 5 (with links to Part 1 to 4)

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