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Research programs aimed at reducing the injury potential for young athletes are based on the quality of the data available for analysis. In developing a protocol for studying risk patterns for sports, the first priority is to have a thorough knowledge of the baseline injury pattern. Whatever safety interventions are designed and implemented, there must be a mechanism for evaluating the intervention and its impact on existing injury pattern. The quality of the available data and its utility in decision-making is based on the breadth and depth of the data collection process. Today's technology has made available to the researcher a new cadre of approaches to routine injury data collection. This paper discusses some of the important procedural areas that must be addressed in the design of an injury data collection system. It examines administrative issues, data collection and management approaches, and data analysis models.
sports injuries, injury research, sports injury epidemiology, sports safety
President/CEO, Med Sports Systems, Iowa City, IA