Involving research‐invested clinicians in data collection affects injury incidence in youth football
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionScandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports. 2019, 29(7), 1031-1039. 10.1111/sms.13427
It is well established that differences in injury definition and recording methodology restrict comparisons between injury surveillance programmes. There is, however, little documentation of the variation that can exist between data recorders. The aim of this study was, therefore, to explore the effect on reported injuries when team recorders or supervisors are involved in research. Injury data collected prospectively over five seasons for the U16, U17, and U18 age groups in a youth football (soccer) academy were used to compare different recording settings based on the research involvement of the clinicians. A research‐invested team physiotherapist reported an 8.8 times greater incidence (P < 0.001) of non‐time‐loss injuries and a 2.5 times greater incidence (P < 0.001) of minimal injuries (1‐3 days lost) compared to a setting where neither the team physiotherapists nor the supervisor relied on the collected data for research purposes. When team physiotherapists were not invested in research themselves but were supervised by a researcher, the incidence of non‐time‐loss injuries and minimal injuries was 2.5 times (P < 0.001) and 2.0 times greater (P < 0.01) than in the non‐invested setting, respectively. However, there were no differences between recording settings for overall incidence of time‐loss injuries. The results from this study demonstrate that involving clinicians that are relying on the collected data for research purposes can significantly affect the reported rates of non‐time‐loss and minimal injuries. Time‐loss injuries overall were not affected by research investment, and should therefore be preferred for comparisons between teams and seasons.
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