Sport and exercise-related injury prevention

Project aim

Website updated 11 May 2021

This project aims to identify priority topics and associated scopes of Cochrane Reviews of the interventions used by individuals for preventing lower and upper limb injuries resulting from participation in sport and exercise-activities. 

Stage 1: Online survey to be completed by sports participants and physically active people aged over 16 years 

In the first stage of the project we collected information on what interventions sports participants and physically active people use, and their thoughts on these, to prevent exercise-related injuries and associated pain conditions, while setting this into the context of their activities, their perception of risk and past history of injury. Participants were asked for up to five topics on which they would like to see a summary of the evidence and their reasons for these. This anonymous survey was run between 22 June 2020 and 31 July 2020. The quantitative and qualitative analysis of this survey is ongoing. Key characteristics of the survey responders are described below.

In all, 357 people from 29 countries completed our ‘participant’ survey. The majority of survey responders (59.7%) were from the UK. There were equal numbers of females and males, with one person who preferred not to say. The responders were aged between 16 and 84: the average age was 41 years. The ‘level of participation’ in sport and other physical activities was mainly recreational (not competitive) at 40.1% and amateur (competitive but unpaid) at 56.3%.

Stage 2: Online survey to be completed by people working in sports/physical activity support roles

In this second survey we sought insights from instructors, coaches, clinical staff (sports-doctors, physiotherapists, etc), sports scientists as well as researchers who study sports injuries. A key aim of this second survey was to gauge the difference in the knowledge and opinion between sports participants and those in these support roles. This anonymous survey was run between 3 August 2020 and 25 September 2020. The quantitative and qualitative analysis of this survey is ongoing. Key characteristics of the survey responders are described below.

In all, 227 people from 27 countries completed our ‘support staff’ survey. One hundred (44.1%) of survey responders were from the UK. There were seven times more male than female responders. Responders were aged between 25 and 69: the average age was 34 years. The top five supporting roles were strength and conditioning coach (34.8%), physiotherapist (18.9%), sports scientist (13.7%), head of department (11.5%) and performance coach (9.3%). 

Stage 3: Delphi procedure

We invited people with an interest and expertise in the field of sport and exercise-related injury prevention, to participate in an online Delphi survey. Participants included Cochrane stakeholders, researchers and clinicians.

The Delphi procedure consisted of 3 rounds:

Round 1 (undertaken January 2021)

Participants were asked to identify three questions relating to the prevention of upper and lower limb injuries in adults (16 years and over), that they would like answered in future Cochrane reviews.

In this first round, 28 participants from 12 different countries accepted the invitation; 26 surveys were received (25 fully-completed and 1 partially-completed). 

Round 2 (undertaken March 2021)

Participants looked at an anonymised summary of the question topics identified by Round 1, to help prioritise the identified questions. Twenty-three particpants completed this round. A total of 11 research questions passed our consensus thresholds for moving forwards to round 3.

Round 3 (undertaken April 2021)

Participants were asked to take part in a decision process in order to arrive at the final agreement of topic prioritisation. This involved re-grading the 11 research questions that passed the consensus-in threshold. Twenty particpants completed this third round.

Who is running it?

Professor Greg Atkinson (Principal Investigator) and Mr Gregory MacMillan (Project Research Assistant) at Teesside University, in collaboration with the Bone, Joint and Muscle Trauma (BJMT) Group.

Where and when will the results or outcomes be made available?

As planned, we now provide a summary of the basic participation statistics of the surveys. 

We anticipate that a detailed analysis of all the survey and Delphi results will be submitted for open access journal publication later in 2021. A report and list of topics will be displayed on the Group’s website subsequent to final consultation with BJMT Group editors and the Cochrane Acute and Emergency Care Network.