Injury and illness surveillance, and epidemiological studies, are fundamental elements of concerted efforts to protect the health of the athlete. To encourage consistency in the definitions and methodology used, and to enable data across studies to be compared, research groups have published 11 sport-specific or setting-specific consensus statements on sports injury (and, eventually, illness) epidemiology to date.
Our objective was to further strengthen consistency in data collection, injury definitions and research reporting through an updated set of recommendations for sports injury and illness studies, including a new Strengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology (STROBE) checklist extension.
The IOC invited a working group of international experts to review relevant literature and provide recommendations. The procedure included an open online survey, several stages of text drafting and consultation by working groups and a 3-day consensus meeting in October 2019.
This statement includes recommendations for data collection and research reporting covering key components: defining and classifying health problems; severity of health problems; capturing and reporting athlete exposure; expressing risk; burden of health problems; study population characteristics and data collection methods. Based on these, we also developed a new reporting guideline as a STROBE Extension—the STROBE Sports Injury and Illness Surveillance (STROBE-SIIS).
The IOC encourages ongoing in- and out-of-competition surveillance programmes and studies to describe injury and illness trends and patterns, understand their causes and develop measures to protect the health of the athlete. Implementation of the methods outlined in this statement will advance consistency in data collection and research reporting.