Sports Injury Surveillance Systems: A Review of Methods and Data Quality

Sports Med. 2016 Jan;46(1):49-65. doi: 10.1007/s40279-015-0410-z.


Background and aims: Data from sports injury surveillance systems are a prerequisite to the development and evaluation of injury prevention strategies. This review aimed to identify ongoing sports injury surveillance systems and determine whether there are gaps in our understanding of injuries in certain sport settings. A secondary aim was to determine which of the included surveillance systems have evaluated the quality of their data, a key factor in determining their usefulness.

Methods: A systematic search was carried out to identify (1) publications presenting methodological details of sports injury surveillance systems within clubs and organisations; and (2) publications describing quality evaluations and the quality of data from these systems. Data extracted included methodological details of the surveillance systems, methods used to evaluate data quality, and results of these evaluations.

Results: Following literature search and review, a total of 15 sports injury surveillance systems were identified. Data relevant to each aim were summarised descriptively. Most systems were found to exist within professional and elite sports. Publications concerning data quality were identified for seven (47%) systems. Validation of system data through comparison with alternate sources has been undertaken for only four systems (27%).

Conclusions: This review identified a shortage of ongoing injury surveillance data from amateur and community sport settings and limited information about the quality of data in professional and elite settings. More surveillance systems are needed across a range of sport settings, as are standards for data quality reporting. These efforts will enable better monitoring of sports injury trends and the development of sports safety strategies.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Athletic Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Data Accuracy*
  • Humans
  • Population Surveillance / methods*
  • Registries