Implementation of Injury and Illness Surveillance Protocols in Varsity Athletes
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OBJECTIVE: To develop and implement a prospective varsity athlete surveillance system to identify injury and illness trends in a multisport varsity-level university setting. DESIGN: Longitudinal prospective surveillance study. SETTING: Varsity-level sport program at the University of Guelph, Guelph, ON, Canada. PARTICIPANTS: Athletic therapists (ATs) (n = 35) from 17 varsity sports provided injury and illness information on 624 varsity-level athletes (381 men and 243 women) during the 2016/2017 competitive season. INTERVENTIONS: Team ATs reported athlete health complaints weekly. Athletes reported additional details on the injury or illness that was reported. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The outcome measurements included when the injury or illness occurred, anatomical location, diagnosis, cause, perceived severity, treatment, estimated athlete exposure (AE) to training and competition, and time loss from sport. Measures were recorded from the teams' first competition through to the end the season and/or playoffs. RESULTS: Twenty-nine of 30 varsity sports teams participated in this injury and illness surveillance protocol. The compliance of team ATs and varsity athletes was 89% (men: 94%, women: 82%). The overall injury and illness rates were 5.5 injuries and 1.7 illnesses per 1000 AEs, respectively. Men's injury rates were greater than women's, and injury rates of contact sports were greater than noncontact sports. CONCLUSIONS: The utilization of a prospective injury and illness surveillance protocol in the Canadian University sport system is feasible with good athlete, AT, and coach acceptance. The surveillance data should inform future injury and illness prevention strategies.
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