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Improving statistical methodology in training load and injury risk research (PhD Academy Award)
  1. Lena Kristin Bache-Mathiesen
  1. Department of Sports Medicine, Oslo Sports Trauma Research Centre, Norwegian School of Sports Sciences, Oslo, Norway
  1. Correspondence to Dr Lena Kristin Bache-Mathiesen, Department of Sports Medicine, Oslo Sports Trauma Research Centre, Norwegian School of Sports Sciences, Oslo, 0863, Norway; l.k.bache-mathiesen{at}

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What did I do?

I determined statistical approaches for handling complex assumptions in the relationship between training load and injury risk.

Why did I do it?

Training load can potentially be modified to reduce injury risk. Although the amount of research on training load and injury risk has increased in recent years,1 our understanding of this complex relationship remains limited. Previous studies have applied a plethora of statistical approaches with suboptimal or unknown performance.2 The variety of approaches has confused clinicians attempting to apply latest research, and has barred systematic reviews from comparing studies through meta-analyses.3 Despite these challenges, few recommendations exist for statistically handling hypothesised assumptions between training load and injury risk. Consequently, researchers have continued to use suboptimal approaches.

How did I do it?

I first conducted a brief review of the training load and injury risk field to obtain a rough estimate of how missing data were currently handled.4 This information would guide my methodological choices for comparing methods of dealing with missing data. This review encompassed only studies on sport populations published in the last decade (n=108).

In three studies,4–6 I simulated hypothetical relationships between training load and the probability of injury, using 1-season cohort data from Norwegian Men’s Premier League football (n=39 players) and Norwegian academy U-19 football (n=81 players). Ideally, a study uses multiple measures to capture different aspects of training load. Athlete-reported training load was …

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  • Contributors All author has made substantial contributions to two or more of the following: (1) The conception and design of the study, or acquisition of data, or analysis and interpretation of data. (2) Drafting the article or revising it critically for important intellectual content. (3) Final approval of the version to be submitted.

  • Funding The Oslo Sports Trauma Research Centre provided all funding for performing this study. The Oslo Sports Trauma Research Center has been established at the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences through generous grants from the Royal Norwegian Ministry of Culture, the South-Eastern Norway Regional Health Authority, the International Olympic Committee, the Norwegian Olympic Committee & Confederation of Sport and Norsk Tipping AS.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient and public involvement statement Study participants were not actively involved in the research design.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.