Looking for the evidence: a systematic review of prevention strategies addressing sport and recreational injury among children and youth

J Sci Med Sport. 2004 Mar;7(1):58-73. doi: 10.1016/s1440-2440(04)80045-8.


Objectives: To examine evidence on the effectiveness of current injury prevention strategies in selected sport and recreational activities, determine the applicability of the evidence to children and youth and discuss the implications related to policy, programming and future research.

Methods: Research questions and relevance criteria were developed a priori. Potentially relevant studies were located through electronic and hand searches. Two independent assessors assessed articles for first relevance and then quality. Relevant articles were abstracted and synthesised for activities that had three or more relevant articles.

Results: A total of 21,499 articles identified through database and manual searching yielding 117 that met inclusion criteria. The majority of the studies (93 or 89%) involved eight activities: baseball, basketball, cycling, football, ice hockey, rugby, alpine skiing and soccer. Children and youth were identified as the specific target group in 45% of the studies and another 12% included children in their sample. Studies addressed a range of intervention strategies and varied on quality of evidence.

Conclusions: Surprisingly few well-designed and controlled studies investigating strategies to prevent injuries were found and an even smaller number evaluated strategies to reduce injury in children and youth. As governments in developed countries continue to focus on increasing physical activity among children and youth, thought must be given to the issue of risk of injury and the relative lack of evidence of effective preventive measures.

Publication types

  • Comment
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Athletic Injuries / prevention & control*
  • Child
  • Evidence-Based Medicine*
  • Humans
  • Information Storage and Retrieval / methods*
  • Recreation
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Research Design*
  • Sports / classification