Predictors of Lower Extremity Injuries at the Community Level of Australian Football

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ObjectiveTo identify risk factors for general lower extremity injury at the community level of Australian football.DesignProspective cohort study.SettingCommunity-level Australian football.ParticipantsOne hundred twenty-six adult players from 4 community-level Australian football clubs.MethodsDuring the 2000 preseason period, all participants underwent a baseline assessment involving a self-report questionnaire and a battery of musculoskeletal screening tests to collect information about potential risk factors for lower extremity injury. Over the course of the season, injury surveillance and exposure data collection were undertaken at each club.Main outcome measureA lower extremity injury, resulting in missed participation and/or treatment from a health professional, as the first injury during the season.ResultsFor 59 players, a lower extremity injury was the first injury sustained during the season. Only ankle dorsiflexion range of movement, measured using the weightbearing lunge test, was significantly associated with sustaining a lower extremity injury through univariate analyses. Using survival analyses, and after adjusting for exposure, age, frequency of weight training participation, and the past injury status of players were identified as independent, but not significant, predictors of time to sustaining a lower extremity injury.ConclusionsDespite the large number of potential risk factors studied and the high incidence of lower extremity injuries in the cohort, a definitive individual injury risk profile for all lower extremity injuries was not identified, potentially due to the heterogeneity of the outcome of interest. Further research should focus on the identification of risk factors for the most common and costly individual injuries in Australian football.

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