Background: Several authors have analyzed the incidence of injuries in a given sport, but only a few have examined the exposure-related incidence of injuries in different types of sports using the same methodology.
Purpose: Analysis of the incidence, circumstances, and characteristics of injuries in different team sports during the 2004 Olympic Games.
Study design: Cohort study; Level of evidence, 2.
Methods: During the 2004 Olympic Games, injuries in 14 team sport tournaments (men's and women's soccer, men's and women's handball, men's and women's basketball, men's and women's field hockey, baseball, softball, men's and women's water polo, and men's and women's volleyball) were analyzed. After each match, the physician of the participating teams or the official medical representative of the sport completed a standardized injury report form. The mean response rate was 93%.
Results: A total of 377 injuries were reported from 456 matches, an incidence of 0.8 injuries per match (95% confidence interval, 0.75-0.91) or 54 injuries per 1000 player matches (95% confidence interval, 49-60). Half of all injuries affected the lower extremity; 24% involved the head or neck. The most prevalent diagnoses were head contusion and ankle sprain. On average, 78% of injuries were caused by contact with another player. However, a significantly higher percentage of noncontact (57%) versus contact injuries (37%) was expected to prevent the player from participating in his or her sport. Significantly more injuries in male players (46%) versus female players (35%) were expected to result in absence from match or training. The incidence, diagnosis, and causes of injuries differed substantially between the team sports.
Conclusion: The risk of injury in different team sports can be compared using standardized methodology. Even if the incidence and characteristics of injuries are not identical in all sports, prevention of injury and promotion of fair play are relevant topics for almost all team sports.