Epidemiology of Hip and Groin Injuries in Collegiate Athletes in the United States

Orthop J Sports Med. 2018 May 11;6(5):2325967118771676. doi: 10.1177/2325967118771676. eCollection 2018 May.


Background: Hip and groin pain is a common complaint among athletes. Few studies have examined the epidemiology of hip and groin injuries in collegiate athletes across multiple sports.

Purpose: To describe the rates, mechanisms, sex-based differences, and severity of hip/groin injuries across 25 collegiate sports.

Study design: Descriptive epidemiology study.

Methods: Data from the 2009-2010 through 2013-2014 academic years were obtained from the National Collegiate Athletic Association Injury Surveillance Program (NCAA ISP). The rate of hip/groin injuries, mechanism of injury, time lost from competition, and need for surgery were calculated. Differences between sex-comparable sports were quantified using rate ratios (RRs) and injury proportion ratios (IPRs).

Results: In total, 1984 hip/groin injuries were reported, giving an overall injury rate of 53.06 per 100,000 athlete-exposures (AEs). An adductor/groin tear was the most common injury, comprising 24.5% of all injuries. The sports with the highest rates of injuries per 100,000 AEs were men's soccer (110.84), men's ice hockey (104.90), and women's ice hockey (76.88). In sex-comparable sports, men had a higher rate of injuries per 100,000 AEs compared with women (59.53 vs 42.27, respectively; RR, 1.41 [95% CI, 1.28-1.55]). The most common injury mechanisms were noncontact (48.4% of all injuries) and overuse/gradual (20.4%). In sex-comparable sports, men had a greater proportion of injuries due to player contact than women (17.0% vs 3.6%, respectively; IPR, 4.80 [95% CI, 3.10-7.42]), while women had a greater proportion of injuries due to overuse/gradual than men (29.1% vs 16.7%, respectively; IPR, 1.74 [95% CI, 1.46-2.06]). Overall, 39.3% of hip/groin injuries resulted in time lost from competition. Only 1.3% of injuries required surgery.

Conclusion: Hip/groin injuries are most common in sports that involve kicking or skating and sudden changes in direction and speed. Most hip/groin injuries in collegiate athletes are noncontact and do not result in time lost from competition, and few require surgery. This information can help guide treatment and prevention measures to limit such injuries in male and female collegiate athletes.

Keywords: epidemiology; femoroacetabular impingement; groin pain; hip/pelvis/thigh injuries.