Tracking injuries via SMS in community Australian football

C Ekegren, B Gabbe, C Finch

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


Introduction: The use of text messaging or short message service (SMS) for injury reporting is a recent innovation in sport and has not yet been trialled at the community level. Considering the lack of personnel and resources for injury surveillance in community sport, SMS may hold promise as a feasible option for future research. However, first there is a need to evaluate the quality of reported data. This study aimed to evaluate the quality of SMS-reported data, in terms of player response rate and injury capture rate in community Australian football (AF) clubs.

Methods: Four clubs were randomly selected out of a possible 22 men's community AF clubs from across the state of Victoria. Consenting players from these clubs received an SMS after each of the 18 rounds of the season asking whether they had been injured in the preceding week. If a player replied ‘yes’, he received a follow-up phone call from one of the authors (a physiotherapist) during which he was interviewed about the details of his injury using a standardised injury form. Throughout the season, a staff member from participating clubs (such as a sports trainer) concurrently recorded all players’ injuries using the same injury form. Both players and club personnel were blinded to the dual procedures taking place. The reports from both sources were compared so as to determine the percentage of all injuries registered by SMS only, by club personnel only and by both. Response rate was reported as the proportion of players replying to the weekly SMS and the number of reminders they required.

Results: In the sample of 139 AF players, a total of 210 injuries were reported. Eighty per cent of these injuries were captured by SMS (58–91% across clubs) while only 40% were captured by club personnel (18–71%). Only 20% of injuries were reported by both players and club personnel (9–29%). The mean weekly response rate across all four clubs was 95% (89–100% across rounds). The mean percentage of players requiring one or two reminders was 10% and 5% respectively.

Discussion: A greater proportion of injuries were captured by SMS than by club personnel although this varied across clubs. The player response rate was very high overall but slightly declined over the football season. Injury tracking via SMS yielded a high proportion of injuries and should be considered a viable injury surveillance method for community sports settings.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages2
Publication statusPublished - 2013
EventASICS Conference of Science and Medicine in Sport 2013 - Hilton Phuket Arcadia Resort and Spa, Phuket, Thailand
Duration: 22 Oct 201325 Oct 2013


ConferenceASICS Conference of Science and Medicine in Sport 2013
Abbreviated titleASICS

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