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A substantial amount of research has tested the relationship between training load and injury.1 Given that sports injuries compromise team success,2 3 team administrators, players and coaches are now interested in this field. As team injury data are widely available through various internet sources (eg, Man Games Lost, https://www.mangameslost.com/), sports medicine staff are commonly evaluated based on the number of injuries sustained (or not sustained) by their playing rosters.
A search of the ‘PubMed’ database shows that in the past 18 years, there has been a rapid growth in ‘training load’ and ‘injury’ research, increasing from 9 papers in 2000 to 145 in 2017 (figure 1). Despite this growing body of literature, evidence-based guidelines to reduce workload-related injury are often poorly implemented due to the level of expertise or understanding of the high-performance team (including the skill coaches, strength and conditioning or medical staff) or their individual beliefs and experiences (cognitive biases, confirmation biases). This can lead to a disconnect between the evidence supporting training load and its role in injury, and the actual training programmes prescribed.4 Five common myths and misconceptions about training load and its role in injury and performance are reviewed in this paper.
Myth 1: load explains all injuries
The relationship between training, performance and injury has been of interest to researchers and practitioners for considerable time.1 5–15 Both individual16 and team17–19 performance can be explained, at least in part by training load, with higher training loads generally associated with better performance. Equally, a large body of evidence has emerged suggesting that inappropriately prescribed training load may increase injury risk20–25 and pain.26 Based on these findings, a myopic view would be that ‘load’ explains all injuries.
The multifactorial determinants of both performance and …
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