IRFU/PESS Irish Rugby Injury Surveillance (IRIS) research study up and running – Giles Warrington

Two week’s ago saw the official launch of a long-term research partnership between the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) and the University of Limerick (UL) focusing on injury monitoring and prevention in the amateur game, known as Irish Rugby Injury Surveillance or “IRIS”.

The IRIS research team is led by PESS staff members Dr Tom Comyns and Dr Ian Kenny and involves a number other members of the PESS staff as well as staff from other EHS/UL Departments, has been reviewing the reported incidence of injury internationally across the amateur game. The initial phase of this extensive study is being conducted by PhD student and chartered physiotherapist Caithriona Yeomans.

The project commenced in September 2016 and initially involved the research team carrying out a detailed analysis of existing injury monitoring systems and player education in the amateur game in Ireland and a number of clubs underwent health and mobility screening during their pre-season period.  Also during this preparatory period an online injury recording system was developed and put in place to support the research.

There are now 17 teams from the men’s Ulster Bank League and 5 teams from the women’s All Ireland League involved in the IRIS Project with 480 players registered with the study.  All injuries occurring to the Senior 1st XV in these clubs will be recorded for the next two seasons up until the end of the 2018/19 season.

The UL IRIS research team are: Dr Tom Comyns (Strength & Conditioning), Dr Ian Kenny (biomechanics), Ms Caithriona Yeomans (PhD researcher), Dr Róisín Cahalan (physiotherapy), Dr Giles Warrington (performance physiology), Professor Drew Harrison (biomechanics), Dr Mark Lyons (Strength & Conditioning), Dr Mark Campbell (sport psychology), Dr Kevin Hayes (statistics) and Dr Michael Griffin (GEMS).

The programme aims to enable the IRFU to:

  • Measure the incidence, nature and severity of injury;
  • Monitor trends in injury over time;
  • Gain insight into the possible causes of injury;
  • Target research or further investigation into causal factors and mechanisms;
  • Plan, implement and evaluate measures to prevent injury;
  • Prioritise the allocation of resources to injury prevention;
  • Assess the effectiveness of injury prevention measures;
  • Evaluate policy with regard to injury prevention;
  • Monitor and evaluate the effect on injury rates of:
  • Changes in the Laws of the game;
  • Coaching initiatives;
  • Refereeing initiatives;
  • Medical initiatives;


Giles Warrington is Head of the Department of Physical Education and Sport Sciences and Senior Lecturer in Sport Science.  View Giles’ profile here! or on twitter
Giles can be contacted at 

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