Playing through the pain - The prevalence of perceived shoulder dysfunction in uninjured rugby players using the Rugby Shoulder Score



This study aimed to investigate the prevalence of self-reported shoulder dysfunction using the Rugby Shoulder Score (RSS) reported in arbitrary units (AU) of rugby players available for match selection (uninjured). This study took the form of a cross-sectional paper survey at the mid-point of the season of uninjured players (n = 86 males (mean age (±SD) 26 ± 6.9y) from 8 squads (professional n = 34; amateur n = 52), using the RSS, subjective impact on rugby performance and previous shoulder injury, analysed using a Mann-Whitney U test. 55% of players reported a level of RSS dysfunction despite being uninjured. Players who also reported their shoulder was impacting on performance had significantly higher median RSS (61, IQR 28AU, p = 0.02) than those who reported no impact on performance (40, IQR 22AU). Findings from this study show that over half of players were playing with a level of self-reported shoulder dysfunction. This figure is higher in the professional game, for those with a history of previous injury and for forwards.

Physical Therapy in Sport, 53:53-57
Jason Tee
Jason Tee
Coach educator and performance consultant

Coach and sports scientist with an interest in player and coach development