Researchers believe that dark sports jerseys can lead to reduced performance, increased injuries, and even jeopardized the career of young rugby players, after an unexpected discovery among youth teams in the far north of Queensland.
- Researchers discover a link between rugby shirt color and injury rates among young players
- This connection is likely the result of increased heat stress, resulting in reduced performance and personal injury.
- More research is needed to determine the effect of the results.
A study of 64 young rugby league players in Cairns examined factors that affect injury rates.
While the moisture and hardness of the soil did not seem to affect how often players were injured during the season, the color of their knitwear changed.
The study showed that the frequency of injuries was higher among players under the age of 14 who wore black T-shirts with 69.9 injuries per 1000 hours of games played, compared to those who wore orange T-shirts with 55.9 injuries per 1000 hours of games played.
A professor of sports and exercise at James Cook University Kenji Home said the connection was probably related to heat stress.
“In particular, there are a lot of clashes in rugby, so you need to know how to fight and avoid opponents in order to minimize the risk of injury,” said Dr. Doma.
“When you are very hot, it can also affect your performance, your balance, your technique and your decision-making skills.
“The dark colors of the Jersey will have greater heat absorption.”
Dr. House said the results were “amazing” and could have far-reaching applications.
“In most sports, teams will have light shirts and dark shirts,” he said.
“This is how they differentiate themselves.
“So it can be transferred to other sports.”
Club focus on risk minimization
North Queensland Cowboys game development officer and longtime trainer Liam Bartlett said the results were a huge surprise.
“This is very interesting from a coaching point of view,” he said.
“During the year, your team can use jerseys of different colors several times. Obviously, in what they found, there are many virtues.
“We always try to make the game as safe as possible for everyone we can. It’s nice to know that another aspect is being explored. ”
He said the results could be used to increase player productivity and safety, especially in tropical climates.
NRL Development Officer Albi Anderson says Queensland's clubs are taking risk management seriously. (AAP: Renee McKay / Action Photographics)
But junior coach Albi Anderson cautioned clubs against changing colors before doing more research.
“A huge legacy and history is hidden behind paints and shirts,” he said.
“Reforming can be a huge cost to a club.”
Dr. House also called for further investigation, saying the study was unable to determine exactly what type of injury was caused by the color of the knitwear.
It is also unclear whether the results will apply to older age groups and professional-level rugby players.
But he said the risk of sports injuries should be taken seriously, especially among children.
“This can affect the career of an athlete, especially if there is an athlete who has been identified as talented with really good prospects in the future,” he said.
The study suggests a number of strategies to minimize risk.
These included appropriate breaks, changing game times to reduce heat exposure, preserving hydration, and providing sufficient rest for players.
Mr Anderson said clubs have already taken these strategies into account.
“We have one of the best safety programs for young players from any sport,” he said.
James Cook University of Townsville-4811