A systematic literature review of injury epidemiology and surveillance practices in elite adult female field-based team sport

Gilhooly, M., Cahalan, R., O’Sullivan, K. & Norton, C.

. J. Sci. Med. Sport 26, 301–308 (2023).

Objectives: To describe injury incidence and surveillance practices in elite adult female field-based team sports. Design: Systematic literature review. Methods: This review was prospectively registered (PROSPERO CRD42022318642). CINAHL, PubMed, MEDLINE, Scopus, SPORTDiscus, Web of Science, Open Grey and Google Scholar were searched from inception to 30th June inclusive. Peer reviewed original research articles that reported the incidence of injury sustained by females aged ≥18 years in elite field-based team sports were included. The Newcastle Ottawa Scale was used to assess the risk of bias.

Results: Twenty prospective cohort studies investigating injury incidence in Australian football, American football, soccer, field hockey, rugby, rugby-7s and cricket were eligible. A higher injury incidence in match play compared to training was reported with the highest match and training incidence (132.7 and 42.1/1000 h of exposure respectively) in Australian football. The majority of the reported injuries were to the lower limb and involved muscle/tendon or joint/ligaments. There was heterogeneity in definitions of injury, severity and exposure, variations in methods of injury data collection and reporting with, not all data being collected/reported optimally, which limited comparison of studies.

Conclusions: This review highlights the lack of and need for injury data specific to this cohort. Establishing the incidence of injury with a robust injury surveillance system is the first step in the sequence of injury prevention. It requires consistency in definitions and methodologies, providing accurate and useful injury data, to guide targeted injury prevention strategies.