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Evidence based prevention of acute injuries during physical exercise in a WHO safe community
  1. T Timpka,
  2. K Lindqvist
  1. Linköping University, Faculty of Health Sciences, Department of Health and Environment, Division of Preventive and Social Medicine, S-58185 Linköping, Sweden
  1. Correspondence to: Dr Timpka, Division of Preventive and Social Medicine, Department of Health and Environment, Faculty of Health Sciences, Linköping University, S-581 85 Linköping, Sweden tooti{at}


Objective—To evaluate a community based programme for evidence based prevention of injuries during physical exercise.

Design—Quasi-experimental evaluation using an intervention population and a non-random control population.

Participants—Study municipality (population 41 000) and control municipality (population 26 000) in Sweden.

Main outcome measures—Morbidity rate for sports related injuries treated in the health care system; severity classification according to the abbreviated injury scale (AIS).

Results—The total morbidity rate for sports related injuries in the study area decreased by 14% from 21 to 18 injuries per 1000 population years (odds ratio 0.87; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.79 to 0.96). No tendency towards a decrease was observed in people over 40. The rate of moderately severe injury (AIS 2) decreased to almost half (odds ratio 0.58; 95% CI 0.50 to 0.68), whereas the rate of minor injuries (AIS 1) increased (odds ratio 1.22; 95% CI 1.06 to 1.40). The risk of severe injuries (AIS 3–6) remained constant. The rate of total sports injury in the control area did not change (odds ratio 0.93; 95% CI 0.81 to 1.07), and the trends in the study and control areas were not statistically significantly different.

Conclusion—An evidence based prevention programme based on local safety rules and educational programmes can reduce the burden of injuries related to physical exercise in a community. Future studies need to look at adjusting the programme to benefit all age groups.

  • injuries
  • prevention
  • evaluation
  • community
  • intervention
  • safety promotion
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