A recent report from NDORMS (the Nuffield Department of Orthopaedics, Rheumatology and Musculoskeletal Sciences) highlights key findings in a study headed by LMH DPhil researcher, Madi Davies. During the four-year study, endorsed by key sports governing bodies, clubs and players' associations,  retired international and elite rugby players have been monitored, to find out more about the long-term effects of high-level participation in the sport. Health outcomes were compared between 259 former elite players, 5,186 participants of the English Longitudinal Study of Aging,  and 2,981 participants from the Health Survey for the England. 

Madi Davies commented on the report: “Over the last few years, there has been an increasing focus on the long-term effects of sports participation, which is crucial to inform healthy play, and aging, for former sports people. We are pleased to present our first study findings in Scientific Reports, to support ongoing dialogue and the development of best practice for longer term athlete care, following sports participation.”

Researchers found that rugby players aged 50 and above were more likely to suffer from physician-diagnosed osteoarthritis, site-specific joint replacement at the hip and knee, and osteoporosis. Reported problems in health-related quality of life were more prevalent for mobility, self-care, pain or discomfort and usual activities, but not for anxiety or depression. Self-reported attitudes to the sport remained very positive amongst participants, 95% of whom felt the benefits were worth the health risk, and 78% of whom would recommend rugby to others. 

On her ongoing research, Madi Davies commented, 'My LMH Scholarship has supported my DPhil and enabled me to deliver this study. The College has been central to my DPhil process and supported my personal and professional development throughout.'


Dr Madeleine Davies
Rugby matches