Incidence of injuries in high school track and field athletes and its relation to performance ability

Am J Sports Med. 1987 May-Jun;15(3):251-4. doi: 10.1177/036354658701500310.


Two hundred fifty-seven high school track athletes from 17 teams were observed prospectively for one complete season (77 days) to study the incidence and types of injuries and to establish the relationship among injuries, duration of training, and individual performance ability. One hundred seventy-four (68%) of the athletes were male and 83 (33%) were female. A total of 41 injuries was observed over this period of time. One injury occurred for every 5.8 males and every 7.5 females. On the average, an injury resulted in 8.1 days of missed practice, 8.7 days for males and 6.6 days for females. Sprinting events were responsible for 46% of all injuries. The majority (83%) of injuries involved the lower extremities. Management of these injuries varied greatly. A direct correlation was noted between performance level of the athlete and incidence of injuries. The average noninjured athlete ranked at the 57.4 percentile based on best seasonal performance while the average injured athlete ranked at the 75.4 percentile. This direct relationship was present for both sexes and within all events, although some variation was noted within these separate groups.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Ankle Injuries
  • Aptitude*
  • Athletic Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Illinois
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Schools
  • Sprains and Strains / epidemiology
  • Track and Field*