Does the reliability of reporting in injury surveillance studies depend on injury definition?

Matthew Cross, Sean Williams, Colin W Fuller, Aileen Taylor, John Brooks, Simon Kemp, Grant Trewartha, Keith Stokes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (SciVal)


Background: Choosing an appropriate definition for injury in injury surveillance studies is essential to ensure a balance among reporting reliability, providing an accurate representation of injury risk, and describing the nature of the clinical demand. Purpose: To provide guidance on the choice of injury definition for injury surveillance studies by comparing within- and between-team variability in injury incidence with >24-hour and >7-day time-loss injury definitions in a large multiteam injury surveillance study. Study Design: Cohort study (diagnosis); Level of evidence, 2. Methods: Injury data were reported for 2248 professional rugby union players from 15 Premiership Rugby clubs over 12 seasons. Within-team percentage coefficient of variation and mean between-team standard deviation (expressed as a percentage coefficient of variation) in injury incidence rates (injuries per 1000 player match hours) were calculated. For both variables, a comparison was made between >24-hour and >7-day injury incidence rates in terms of the magnitude of the observed effects. Results: The overall mean incidence across the population with a >24-hour time-loss injury definition was approximately double the reported incidence with the >7-day definition. There was a 10% higher between-team variation in match injury incidence rates with the >24-hour time-loss definition versus the >7-day definition. Conclusion: There was a likely higher degree of between-team variation in match injury incidence rates with a >24-hour time-loss definition than with a >7-day definition of injury. However, in professional sports settings, it is likely that the benefits of using a more inclusive definition of injury (improved understanding of clinical demand and the appropriate and accurate reporting of injury risk) outweigh the small increase in variation in reporting consistency.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
JournalOrthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2018


  • epidemiology
  • injury surveillance
  • rugby union

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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