3 ways proper injury reporting benefits athletes

Posted on: December 10th, 2013 by Ortho Illinois

Last Tuesday night (12/3/2013), some of our Sports Med staff participated in a Twitter chat about athletic injury reporting.

If you haven’t ever seen a Twitter chat before, it’s quite the rodeo.  People’s fingers fly as they frantically type responses to questions posed by the moderator, and with equal dexterity and speed, participants also RT, MT, and favorite in a mad flurry of Tweets that jumble and tumble around the Twitterverse.  But that makes it sound chaotic (which it is), but it’s controlled chaos that used the #SportsSafety hashtag.

Briefly then, I took away three points from the conversation that seem relevant and beneficial to our audience.

1.  We should care more about how injuries are reported and tracked.

Sure, it’s easy to look out on the field or court and say, “Oh! Johnny just went down,” but couldn’t that knowledge be put to better use if it was tracked and stored?

So it would seem, according to the above Tweets, that not everyone has the same approach to injury reporting.  Systems often increase efficiency, and with the advent of smart technology, it’s a wonder that more tools are not available for injury tracking.

2.  Athletic trainers (and those who handle athletic injuries) lack the time to properly report.

Many of the people who participated in the chat said they felt inundated with injuries throughout the day, and they did not have the proper time to report injuries.

Think about this: if those responsible for reporting lack the time to do it thoroughly, could that turn into athletes competing who should be benched due to injury?  It’s worth thinking about, and I certainly hope that’s a rare occurrence.

3.  #BigData is not always bad, despite the politically charged rhetoric in the news

Think about what could be done if you could compare your teams to similar teams.  Teams and schools could create benchmark assessments for common injuries.  Coaches could find out what injuries plague their teams and when in the season they tend to happen.  Practices could adjust to include proper prevention training as well as skill development, and maybe some of you are saying “And unicorns will deliver a delicious beverage to my window every morning.”

Wouldn’t it be nice to know how effective an athletic trainer is?  I think so.

What if your team could know that the JV girls volleyball seemed to have similar injuries over the past ten years.  Well, it’s time to make some changes, right?  Data allows athletes and coaches to train smarter throughout the whole year.


When we think about athletic competition, one of the main concerns should be safety and injury prevention.  Athletes can’t compete if they’re injured, which hurts everybody: the team, the coach, the spectators, and (at the professional level) the sponsors.

So better injury tracking that has a direct impact on training seems like a good idea.  Got any thoughts or stories to share?  Share in the comments (and share with your friends!).

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