We aimed to determine whether an Athletics Injury Prevention Programme (AIPP), targeting the most common athletics injuries, can reduce the occurrence of injury complaints that lead to restrictions in athletics participation (participation restriction injury complaints) in the short (12 weeks) and long (40 weeks) terms. For our 40-week prospective cohort study (level of evidence 2), we invited inter-regional and national-level athletes to regularly perform the AIPP, which included 8 exercises addressing core stability, hamstring, leg and pelvic muscles strengthening and stretching, and balance exercises. A Cox regression was used to analyse the influence of AIPP on the occurrence of participation restriction injury complaint, adjusted to sex, age, height, body mass, discipline, and history of injury complaints during the preceding season, individual response rate, mean weekly training time, mean weekly number of competition, presented by hazard ratio (HR) with 95% confidence interval (95% CI). At 12 weeks (n = 62 athletes), the AIPP was significantly associated with a lower risk of participation restriction injury complaint HR = 0.36 (95%CI: 0.15 to 0.86), p = 0.02 and HR = 0.29 (95%CI: 0.12 to 0.73), p = 0.009, with cumulative weeks and cumulative training time as time scale, respectively, while at 40 weeks (n = 53 athletes) there was no significant association. An 8-exercise injury prevention programme can effectively help to reduce occurrence of injury complaints that would restrict an athlete's participation in athletics in the short term.
Keywords: athletics; epidemiology; injury prevention program; prospective studies; sports injury prevention; track and field.