Injury surveillance in community sport: Can we obtain valid data from sports trainers?

Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2015 Jun;25(3):315-22. doi: 10.1111/sms.12216. Epub 2014 Mar 21.


A lack of available injury data on community sports participants has hampered the development of informed preventive strategies for the broad-base of sports participation. In community sports settings, sports trainers or first-aiders are well-placed to carry out injury surveillance, but few studies have evaluated their ability to do so. The aim of this study was to investigate the reporting rate and completeness of sports trainers' injury records and agreement between sports trainers' and players' reports of injury in community Australian football. Throughout the football season, one sports trainer from each of four clubs recorded players' injuries. To validate these data, we collected self-reported injury data from players via short message service (SMS). In total, 210 discrete injuries were recorded for 139 players, 21% by sports trainers only, 59% by players via SMS only, and 21% by both. Completeness of injury records ranged from 95% to 100%. Agreement between sports trainers and players ranged from K = 0.32 (95% confidence interval: 0.27, 0.37) for date of return to football to K = 1.00 for activity when injured. Injury data collected by sports trainers may be of adequate quality for providing an understanding of the profile of injuries. However, data are likely to underestimate injury rates and should be interpreted with caution.

Keywords: Validity; epidemiology; methodology; reliability.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Athletic Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Australia / epidemiology
  • Data Collection / methods
  • Epidemiological Monitoring
  • Football / injuries*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Residence Characteristics
  • Young Adult