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Australian Study Finds SMS Effective For Collecting Data On Recreational Sports Injuries

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While many people around the world engage in recreational sports activities, research dealing with sports injuries has mostly focused on professional athletes. As a result, injury data for community-level sport is very limited, which makes it difficult to develop appropriate injury prevention programmes. According to Australian researchers, the use of text messages can make data collection quick and effective, Reuters reported citing lead study author Christina Ekegren.

In an e-mail sent to Reuters Health, Ekegren noted that the majority of sports participants are recreational athletes but sports medicine research has largely overlooked community-level activities. Consequently, there is little information about injuries sustained by recreational athletes. This means there is lack of injury prevention strategies suited for community level sports. Given the differences between recreational and professional sports, it is clear that injury prevention requires different approaches, she added.

Ekegren, a doctoral candidate at Melbourne´s Monash University, led a team of researchers who set out to test the effectiveness of SMS for collecting sports injury information from community-level participants. To that end, they enlisted the help of 139 footballers from four community clubs. A couple of days after every weekly match, the researchers contacted the players via SMS to request information on any new injuries the athletes may have sustained. If such injuries were reported, the footballers were contacted by phone to provide details. Over the course of the season, which lasted 18 weeks, the researchers received reports from 92 players about 171 injures in total. The research team was particularly pleased with the fact that nearly 50% of footballers responded to the SMS within five minutes of its receipt. The excellent response rate and the overall speed of reporting indicate that such simple text message programmes can be valuable sources of injury data at the recreational level.