Results from the 2001 NCAA Injury Surveillance System (ISS) reports show that head injuries in multiple sports and player-contact injuries in soccer continue to be a concern.
In football, the game concussion rate of 3.2 (one concussion every five games for a team of 60 participants) reflects a consistent increasing trend in the sport over the past several years.
And in men's and women's soccer, concussions accounted for 9 percent and 11 percent, respectively, of game injuries. Concussions also were a factor in field hockey, accounting for 13 percent of all game injuries.
Also in soccer, 58 percent of game injuries in women's soccer resulted from player contact (21 percent were associated with a slide tackle), and in men's soccer, player-contact accounted for 63 percent of all injuries and 47 percent were associated with attempting or receiving a slide tackle.
The system, in its 19th year, monitors injuries in 15 different sports, including five in the fall: football, men's and women's soccer, women's volleyball, and field hockey.
The survey, conducted as part of the ISS, provides a baseline of injury data from a national sampling. Researchers should be cautious when comparing ISS results with injury data from other studies.
No common definition of injury, measure of severity or evaluation of exposure exists in athletics-injury literature. The information in the summary must be evaluated under the definitions and methodology outlined for the ISS.
The ISS was developed in 1982 to provide current and reliable data on injury trends in intercollegiate athletics.
Injury data are collected yearly from a representative sample of member institutions and the resulting data summaries are reviewed by the NCAA Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports.
The committee's goal continues to be to reduce injury rates through suggested changes in rules, protective equipment or coaching techniques, based on ISS data.
Practice (4.2) and game (37.0) injury rates per 1,000 athlete-exposures were similar to the 19-year averages for the sport. Football game-injury rates equate to 2.2 injuries per game for a team of 60 participants.
The knee, ankle and upper leg were the most prevalent body parts injured in practice, accounting for 31 percent of all reported injuries, while the knee, ankle and shoulder accounted for 52 percent of all reported game injuries. Sprains, strains and contusions were the top three types of injuries.
Forty-one percent of all game injuries required restricted or missed participation for seven days or more, while 10 percent of game injuries required surgery of some type. Eleven-on-11 scrimmaging was the highest-risk practice activity, with an injury risk three times higher than other contact non-scrimmage activities.
Men's and women's soccer
Men's soccer showed practice (4.1) and game (20.1) injury rates that were slightly lower than the 16-year average for the sport. Assuming 15 game participants, the game rate equates to one injury every 3.3 games in the sport. The upper leg, ankle and knees were the most common body parts injured in practice, accounting for 54 percent of reported injuries; the same three were the top injuries in games. Strains, sprains and contusions were the top three types of injuries in both practices and games. Thirty percent of game injuries resulted in time loss of seven days or more, while 5 percent resulted in surgery.
In women's soccer, practice (4.9) and game (17.2) injury rates were slightly lower than the 16-year average for the sport. As with the men, the upper leg, ankle and knee were the top three body parts injured during practices, accounting for 55 percent of the reported injuries.
However, in games, the knee, ankle and head accounted for 54 percent of the reported injuries. Strains, sprains and contusions were the top types of injuries in both practices and games.
Thirty-two percent of women's soccer game injuries restricted participation for seven days or more, while 10 percent resulted in surgery.
Consistent with patterns that have been monitored since 1989, women soccer players had a four-times-higher risk overall of anterior cruciate ligament injury than men soccer participants.
Women's volleyball is one of the few sports monitored that has practice rates that are similar to games. The 2001-02 data show similar practice (3.5) and game (3.9) rates that are slightly lower than the 19-year averages for the sport. The ankle, knee and shoulder were the most common body parts injured in practice and games, accounting for 45 percent of reported injuries in the former and 63 percent in the latter. Sprains and strains were the top two types of injuries.
Forty-six percent of game injuries resulted in time loss of seven days or more, while 11 percent resulted in surgery. Noncontact was the mechanism of injury in 51 percent of practice and 28 percent of game injuries. Player contact was involved in 29 percent of game injuries.
In field hockey, practice (3.6) and game (5.5) injury rates were lower than the 16-year averages for the sport. The upper leg, lower leg and knee were the top body parts injured in practice, while the head, upper leg and knee were the top game injuries, accounting for 42 percent. Strains, contusions and sprains were the top three types of injuries, accounting for 54 percent of reported injuries in practice, while contusions, lacerations and concussions accounted for 59 percent of the reported injuries in games.
Twenty-one percent of game injuries resulted in time loss of seven days or more, while 11 percent resulted in surgery. Contact with the ball or stick accounted for 21 percent of all practice and 64 percent of all game injuries.
How the ISS works
Exposure and injury data were submitted weekly by athletic trainers from institutions selected to represent a cross section of NCAA membership. The cross section was based on the three divisions of the NCAA and the four geographical regions of the country. The selected institutions amount to a minimum 10 percent sample of the membership sponsoring the sport; therefore, the resulting data should be representative of the total population of NCAA institutions.
The system does not identify every injury that occurs at NCAA institutions in a particular sport. Rather, it collects a sampling that is representative of a cross section of the NCAA.
An athlete exposure (A-E) is one athlete participating in one practice or game in which he or she is exposed to the possibility of athletics injury. For example, five practices, each involving 60 participants, and one game involving 40 participants, would result in a total of 340 A-Es for a particular week.
A reportable injury in the ISS is defined as one that:
* Occurred as a result of participation in an organized intercollegiate practice or game; and
* Required medical attention by a team athletic trainer or physician; and
* Resulted in restriction of the student-athlete's participation or performance for one or more days beyond the day of injury.
The injury rate is a ratio of the number of injuries in a particular category to the number of athlete exposures in that category. This value is then multiplied by 1,000 to produce an injury rate per 1,000 athlete exposures. For example, six reportable injuries during a period of 563 athlete exposures would give an injury rate of 10.7 injuries per 1,000 athlete exposures (6 divided by 563) x 1,000.
Additional information on the report is available from the health and safety staff at the NCAA national office.