Objective To characterise the nature of the sport injury prevention literature by reviewing published articles that evaluate specific clinical interventions designed to reduce sport injury risks.
Data sources PubMed, Cinahl, Web of Science and Embase.
Main results Only 139 of 2525 articles retrieved met the inclusion criteria. Almost 40% were randomised controlled trials and 30.2% were cohort studies. The focus of the study was protective equipment in 41%, training in 32.4%, education in 7.9%, rules and regulations in 4.3%, and 13.3% involved a combination of the above. Equipment research studied stability devices (42.1%), head and face protectors (33.3%), attenuating devices (17.5%) as well as other devices (7%). Training studies often used a combination of interventions (eg, balance and stretching); most included balance and coordination (63.3%), with strength and power (36.7%) and stretching (22.5%) being less common. Almost 70% of the studies examined lower extremity injuries, and a majority of these were joint (non-bone)-ligament injuries. Contact sports were most frequently studied (41.5%), followed by collision (39.8%) and non-contact (20.3%).
Conclusion The authors found only 139 publications in the existing literature that examined interventions designed to prevent sports injury. Of these, the majority investigated equipment or training interventions whereas only 4% focused on changes to the rules and regulations that govern sport. The focus of intervention research is on acute injuries in collision and contact sports whereas only 20% of the studies focused on non-contact sports.
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Competing interests None.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.