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Prevalence and incidence are terms commonly used to describe the number, proportion and rate of sports injury in the epidemiological and clinical literature. Indeed, scientific articles have discussed the practical implications of choosing one of these measures over another in relation to better understanding the burden of injury as well as sports injury aetiology, prevention and treatment.1–3 Recently, the use of prevalence and not incidence has been promoted to demonstrate a relationship between training load and overuse sports injury.2 However, there is a need to further elaborate on the circumstances in which prevalence and incidence are used as both measures are relevant and depend on the goals of the researcher and study. Therefore, the purpose of this editorial is to explain the differences between prevalence-based and incidence-based measures, and promote when they should be used by drawing on available data from an existing 1-year, 933-person running injury cohort study (DANORUN4).
Why do sports injuries develop? What we can do to prevent them? Which treatment options should be offered to injured athletes? These are arguably some of the most important questions facing coaches and clinicians. Fortunately, incidence-based measures can help to provide answers given that they relate to the occurrence of new sports injury in an athletic population within a specified period or how many injured athletes recover over time.
The number of incident cases can facilitate the identification of when injuries occur. This allows coaches and clinicians to carefully consider whether there have been any noticeable and …
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