Objective: To identify the nature and extent of research in sport injury prevention with respect to 3 main categories: (1) training, (2) equipment, and (3) rules and regulations.
Data sources: We searched PubMed, CINAHL, Web of Science, Embase, and SPORTDiscus to retrieve all sports injury prevention publications. Articles were categorized according to the translating research into injury prevention practice model.
Results: We retrieved 11 859 articles published since 1938. Fifty-six percent (n = 6641) of publications were nonresearch (review articles and editorials). Publications documenting incidence (n = 1354) and etiology (n = 2558) were the most common original research articles (33% of total). Articles reporting preventive measures (n = 708) and efficacy (n = 460) were less common (10% of the total), and those investigating implementation (n = 162) and effectiveness (n = 32) were rare (1% of total). Six hundred seventy-seven studies focused on equipment and devices to protect against injury, whereas 551 investigated various forms of physical training related to injury prevention. Surprisingly, publications studying changes in rules and regulations aimed at increasing safety and reducing injuries were rare (<1%; n = 63) with a peak of only 20 articles over the most recent 5-year period and an average of 10 articles over the preceding 5-year blocks of time.
Conclusions: Only 492 of 11 859 publications actually assessed the effectiveness of sports injury prevention interventions or their implementation. Research in the area of regulatory change is underrepresented and might represent one of the greatest opportunities to prevent injury.