Objectives: To critically examine and summarize the literature identifying risk factors and prevention strategies for injury in child and adolescent sport.
Data sources: Seven electronic databases were searched including: Medline, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), Psychinfo, Cochrane Database for Systematic and Complete Reviews, Cochrane Controlled Trials Registry, HealthSTAR and SPORTDiscus. Medical subject headings and text words included: athletic injury, sport injury, risk factors, adolescent and child. Additional articles were reviewed based on sport-specific contributions in the previous chapters of this book.
Main results: Despite the diversity of injuries occurring in various pediatric sporting populations, the uniformity with respect to many of the risk factors identified in the literature is noteworthy (i.e. previous injury, age, sport specificity, psychosocial factors, decreased strength and endurance). The literature is significantly limited with respect to the prospective evaluation of risk factors and prevention strategies for injury in pediatric sport. The consistencies, however, between the adult and pediatric literature are encouraging with respect to prevention strategies involving neuromuscular training programs (i.e. balance training programs) to reduce lower extremity injuries in some sports and the use of sport-specific protective equipment (i.e. helmets).
Conclusions: Notwithstanding the limitations in the literature, the successful evaluation of some sport-specific prevention strategies to reduce injury in pediatric sport is encouraging. There is significant opportunity to methodologically improve upon the current pediatric sport injury literature in descriptive surveillance research, risk factor evaluation research, and prevention research. There is a need for prospective studies, ideally randomized controlled trials, in the evaluation of prevention strategies in pediatric sport. The integration of basic science, laboratory and epidemiological research is critical in evaluating the mechanisms associated with injury and injury prevention in pediatric sport. Finally, long-term studies are needed to identify the public health impact of pediatric sport injury.