Objective To analyse published articles that used interventions aimed at investigating biomechanical/physiological outcomes (ie, intermediate risk factors) for sport injury prevention in order to characterise the state of the field and identify important areas not covered in the literature.
Data sources PubMed, Cinahl, Web of Science and Embase were searched using a broad search strategy.
Main results Only 144 of 2525 articles retrieved by the search strategy met the inclusion criteria. Crossover study designs increased by 175% in the late 1980s until 2005 but have declined 32% since then. Randomised controlled trial (RCT) study designs increased by 650% since the early 1980s. Protective equipment studies (61.8% of all studies) declined by 35% since 2000, and training studies (35.4% of all studies) increased by 213%. Equipment research studied stability devices (83.1%) and attenuating devices (13.5%) whereas training research studied balance and coordination (54.9%), strength and power (43.1%) and stretching (15.7%). Almost all (92.1%) studies investigated the lower extremity and 78.1% were of the joint (non-bone)-ligament type. Finally, 57.5% of the reports studied contact sports, 24.2% collision and 25.8% non-contact sports.
Conclusion The decrease in crossover study design and increase in RCTs over time suggest a shift in study design for injury prevention articles. Another notable finding was the change in research focus from equipment interventions, which have been decreasing since 2000 (35% decline), to training interventions, which have been increasing (213% increase). Finally, there is very little research on overuse or upper extremity injuries.
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Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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