Subject-related risk factors for sports injuries: a 1-yr prospective study in young adults

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1996 Sep;28(9):1171-9. doi: 10.1097/00005768-199609000-00014.


The purpose of this study was to investigate the importance of subject-related risk factors for sports injuries, taking exposure time into account. At baseline in 182 healthy males and females (27 yr) the following subject-related risk factors were assessed: body mass index (BMI), maximal oxygen uptake (direct treadmill measurement), seven aspects of neuromotor fitness (MOPER fitness test), strength of the hamstring and quadriceps muscles (CYBEX), having sustained a sports injury in the 12 months preceding the baseline measurement ("previous injury"), and 16 psychological and psychosocial factors (measured with 8 standard, valid, and reliable questionnaires). For 1 yr, subjects were asked to make daily entries on a monthly log concerning all sports activities exceeding an intensity of 4 MET and all sustained sport injuries. Completed logs were returned by 139 subjects (75 males and 64 females). Fifty-one injuries were registered in 41 subjects. The overall incidence rate (IR) was 3.7 sports injuries per 1000 h of sports participation (95% confidence interval 2.8-4.9). For various subcategories, the following IR per 1000 h of sports participation were calculated: contact sports IR = 11.0 (95% CI 7.4-16.3); noncontact sports IR = 2.3% (95% CI 1.6-3.3); competition IR = 13.4 (95% CI 8.7-20.6); and training IR = 2.8 (95% CI 1.6-5.1). Data were analyzed by stepwise multiple logistic regression. The following five variables were independent and significant (P < 0.05) predictors of risk in sustaining a sport injury: dominance (odds ratio (OR) = 1.71; 95% CI = 1.44-2.03), vital exhaustion (OR = 1.85; CI = 1.22-2.86), stressful life events (OR = 1.84; 95% CI = 1.10-311); these ORs were calculated for an increase of 10% of the range of obtained scores, starting at minimum value. For total sporting time, the OR was calculated by taking the group with a total sporting time below the median (4050 h) as a reference (OR = 6.87; 95% CI = 2.09-22.55). For previous injury, subjects that had not sustained a sports injury in the 12 months preceding the baseline measurements served as a reference for the calculation of the OR (OR = 9.41; 95% CI = 2.80-31.58). These findings confirm that both exposure time and previous injury are more important predictors of sports injuries than psychological, psychosocial, physiological, and anthropometrical factors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Athletic Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Odds Ratio
  • Oxygen Consumption
  • Physical Fitness / physiology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Stress, Psychological