The Development and Application of an Injury Prediction Model for Noncontact, Soft-Tissue Injuries in Elite Collision Sport Athletes


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Abstract

Gabbett, TJ. The development and application of an injury prediction model for noncontact, soft-tissue injuries in elite collision sport athletes. J Strength Cond Res 24(10): 2593-2603, 2010-Limited information exists on the training dose-response relationship in elite collision sport athletes. In addition, no study has developed an injury prediction model for collision sport athletes. The purpose of this study was to develop an injury prediction model for noncontact, soft-tissue injuries in elite collision sport athletes. Ninety-one professional rugby league players participated in this 4-year prospective study. This study was conducted in 2 phases. Firstly, training load and injury data were prospectively recorded over 2 competitive seasons in elite collision sport athletes. Training load and injury data were modeled using a logistic regression model with a binomial distribution (injury vs. no injury) and logit link function. Secondly, training load and injury data were prospectively recorded over a further 2 competitive seasons in the same cohort of elite collision sport athletes. An injury prediction model based on planned and actual training loads was developed and implemented to determine if noncontact, soft-tissue injuries could be predicted and therefore prevented in elite collision sport athletes. Players were 50-80% likely to sustain a preseason injury within the training load range of 3,000-5,000 units. These training load ‘thresholds’ were considerably reduced (1,700-3,000 units) in the late-competition phase of the season. A total of 159 noncontact, soft-tissue injuries were sustained over the latter 2 seasons. The percentage of true positive predictions was 62.3% (n = 121), whereas the total number of false positive and false negative predictions was 20 and 18, respectively. Players that exceeded the training load threshold were 70 times more likely to test positive for noncontact, soft-tissue injury, whereas players that did not exceed the training load threshold were injured 1/10 as often. These findings provide information on the training dose-response relationship and a scientific method of monitoring and regulating training load in elite collision sport athletes.

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