Table 1

List of data items that need to be included in sports injury data collections to enable the monitoring and tracking multiple and subsequent injuries within individuals

Minimum list of data items to be included in all data collectionsDescription of data item and why it is important
1. Unique identifier to link all injuries within a person need to be linkedEach person needs to be assigned a unique ID that can be carried forward (and back) across the entire dataset covering all seasons/time periods. Further considerations for this ID are that it be completely anonymised to protect the privacy and confidentiality of the individual on whom the data has been collected and reported. This is, of course, a standard requirement of most ethical approvals for injury surveillance studies but still an important consideration when setting up your surveillance system.
2. The injury time order sequenceIn order to be able to know which injury happened first or last, as well as those that occurred in between, it is essential that the exact date (day, month and year) of injury occurrence is documented. For greater precision, the time of day of injury occurrence should also be documented where possible. This is particularly important for sports that involve heats and finals, such as swimming and athletics, or sports with multiple events on the same day, such as martial arts and rugby sevens.
3. Multiple injuries of all typesAthletes who sustain more than one injury can do so under different circumstances.4 Multiple injuries within an athlete can be the result of different injury events, coincide at the same time or be a mixture of both. When the goal is to identify injury risk and protective factors, it is important that the injuries themselves can be directly linked to the circumstances and events that led to them. There will be instances where athletes sustain more than one injury in a single incident, and there is a need to be able to link the specific circumstances of that incident to all injury outcomes. Date and time stamping of all injuries is a good way to report information to allow these relationships to be identified.
4. Injury details, including specific sports medicine diagnosesInformation should be collected about the nature, body region/tissue involved, laterality and diagnosis of all injuries. In order to be able to draw conclusions about whether injuries are related to one another, it is important to have as specific information about these factors as possible.1 6 In previous work, the Orchard Sports Injury Classification (OSICS) has been used to code injuries and repeat occurrences of the same OSICS codes, or related OSICS codes, used for clinical decision making about the likely relatedness of injuries.7 8 Other sports injury coding and classification schema could also be used, as long as this use is consistent within a given dataset and provides sufficient details of injury diagnosis.
5. Time elapsed between injuries and what it corresponds toThe time between injuries will be able to be determined from the direct time/date stamping of each injury. However, to better understand and inform rehabilitation practices, it is also necessary to know what is occurring during those periods between injuries (see ref 3 for a simple example). Is the athlete away from their sport/activity recovering from their injury? Are they spending any time in modified sport/activity during the active rehabilitation phase? Have they returned to play and back to full sport participation? Of course, this information is also crucial for reporting injuries against a time-loss definition. Most typically, injured athletes will progress from the injury recovery to rehabilitation to return-to-play phases after each injury and the start and end of each of these phases should be date/time stamped in the dataset