Context

Temporal prediction of lower extremity (LE) injury risk will benefit clinicians by allowing them to better leverage limited resources and target athletes most at risk.

Objective

To characterize instantaneous risk of LE injury by demographic factors sex, sport, body mass index (BMI), and previous injury history. Instantaneous injury risk was defined as injury risk at any given point in time following baseline measurement.

Design

Descriptive epidemiology study.

Setting

NCAA Division I athletic program.

Patients or Other Participants

278 NCAA Division I varsity student-athletes (119 males, 159 females).

Main Outcome Measure(s)

LE injuries were tracked for 237±235 days. Sex-stratified univariate Cox regression models investigated the association between time to first LE injury and BMI, sport, and previous LE injury history. Relative risk ratios and Kaplan-Meier curves were generated. Variables identified in the univariate analysis were included in a multivariate Cox regression model.

Results

Females displayed similar instantaneous LE injury risk compared to males (HR=1.29, 95%CI=[0.91,1.83], p=0.16). Overweight athletes (BMI>25 kg/m2) had similar instantaneous LE injury risk compared with athletes with BMI<25 kg/m2 (HR=1.23, 95%CI=[0.84,1.82], p=0.29). Athletes with previous LE injuries were not more likely to sustain subsequent LE injury than athletes with no previous injury (HR=1.09, 95%CI=[0.76,1.54], p=0.64). Basketball (HR=3.12, 95%CI=[1.51,6.44], p=0.002) and soccer (HR=2.78, 95%CI=[1.46,5.31], p=0.002) athletes had higher risk of LE injury than cross-country athletes. In the multivariate model, females were at greater LE injury risk than males (HR=1.55, 95%CI=[1.00,2.39], p=0.05), and males with BMI>25 kg/m2 were at greater risk than all other athletes (HR=0.44, 95%CI=[0.19,1.00], p=0.05).

Conclusions

In a collegiate athletic population, previous LE injury history was not a significant contributor to risk of future LE injury, while being female or being male with BMI>25 kg/m2 resulted in increased risk of LE injury. Clinicians can use these data to extrapolate LE injury risk occurrence to specific populations.

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