A Norwegian research team believes that online activity surveys can give a more comprehensive picture of sports participation after anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries compared to standard activity questionnaires. They reached that conclusion after developing and testing an online survey and have published their findings in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.
Led by Hege Grindem from the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences, the researchers created their survey with a view to addressing a major problem with current measuring methods: their focus on post-ACL injury activity in the most knee-demanding sports. In contrast, Grindem´s team made a point of covering participation in every major sport.
The ultimate goal of the study was to evaluate the reliability and validity of sports participation data provided through the online survey as compared to information collected via a routine questionnaire. The reliability assessment was made with the help of 145 people with an ACL injury. Validity was evaluated through input from 88 subjects who had undergone reconstructive procedures. After their operations, the latter filled in the online survey on a monthly basis over the course of one year. They also completed standard activity questionnaires six and 12 months after surgery.
The online survey, which included every common sport featured in routine questionnaires, was found to be very reliable. Both types of survey produced highly similar results with regard to resumption of activity in the main pre-injury sport. However, the web-based survey had far more people reporting participation in running, cycling and strength training. It also showed that patients resumed activity with participation in more sports. This led to the conclusion that the online activity survey is a very reliable source of detailed data on changes in sports activity after an ACL injury and is better than routine activity questionnaires at providing complete information on post-injury sports participation.