Background First year sport students have a considerable risk of injuries. Self-regulatory skills may lower this risk by enabling students to better cope with a sudden increase in physical load (sport participation) and psychosocial stressors (i.e. exams, new social networks).
Objective The aim of this study was to identify if better self-regulatory skills reduce the risk for athletic injuries in sport students.
Design Prospective cohort study with seven months injury follow-up.
Setting Educational setting for students in Physical Education and Sport, Health and Management.
Participants 341 freshmen sports students participated in the study.
Assessment of risk factors Anthropometric characteristics, sports participation, injury history, and self-regulatory skills (planning, self-monitoring, evaluation, reflection, effort and self-efficacy) were assessed at the start of the academic year by digitalized questionnaires.
Main outcome measurements The dependent variables were coded as injured (acute or overuse) or non-injured over a seven months period after baseline measures. Data were analyzed using multinomial logistic regression.
Results A total of 139 athletic injuries were reported. The injury incidence rate per 1000 hours of sports participation was 1.62. Sixty-four percent of the injuries were acute and 36% of the injuries a result of overuse. Increasing hours of sports participation led to a higher risk of overuse injuries (OR: 1.17 95% CI 1.04–1.32), whereas higher scores on planning led to a lower injury risk of overuse injuries (OR: 0.20 95% CI 0.07–0.58). For acute injuries, no significant predictors were found.
Conclusions Self-regulation seems an important skill in reducing injury risk in sport students, because better planning is associated with a lower injury risk. Future research is needed to study the effects of prevention programs that focus on improving self-regulatory skills.
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