Purpose: Organized interscholastic athletics are an integral part of the educational program at almost every school level. With this growing popularity of sports and their inclusion in more public school programs, it becomes increasingly apparent that additional consideration must be given to the injury problem associated with sport. The North Carolina High School Athletic Injury Study (NCHSAIS) was undertaken to identify patterns of injury among male and female athletes in North Carolina high schools participating in any of 12 sports. Specific aims are to measure the incidence, severity and etiology of injuries; to determine the relationship of demographic factors and protective equipment, exposure to play, and school characteristics to injuries; to study the relationship of coaches' training and experience to injury occurrence; and to compare the incidence and severity of injury among female and male athletes in the same or comparable sports.
Methods: A two-stage cluster sample of 100 high schools in North Carolina was selected for this 4-yr prospective study.
Results: Participation by the initial sample or a random replacement was achieved for 91 of the 100 schools. Nonresponse occurred at multiple levels of the sample for this study, and the weekly participation form posed the greatest respondent burden.
Conclusions: The NCHSIAS offers a successful methodology for addressing sports injuries. In this paper we describe the design, methodology, and implementation issues that emerge in conducting a large scale epidemiological study in a population of high school athletes.