The advent of Web-based sports injury surveillance via programs such as the High School Reporting Information Online system and the National Collegiate Athletic Association Injury Surveillance Program has aided the acquisition of girls' and women's softball injury data.
To describe the epidemiology of injuries sustained in high school girls' softball in the 2005-2006 through 2013-2014 academic years and collegiate women's softball in the 2004-2005 through 2013-2014 academic years using Web-based sports injury surveillance.
Descriptive epidemiology study.
Online injury surveillance from softball teams in high school girls (annual average = 100) and collegiate women (annual average = 41).
Girls' or women's softball players who participated in practices and competitions during the 2005-2006 through 2013-2014 academic years in high school and the 2004-2005 through 2013-2014 academic years in college.
Athletic trainers collected time-loss injury and exposure data. Injury rates per 1000 athlete-exposures (AEs) were calculated. Injury rate ratios (IRRs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) compared injury rates by competition level, school size or division, event type, and time in season.
The High School Reporting Information Online system documented 1357 time-loss injuries during 1 173 722 AEs; the National Collegiate Athletic Association Injury Surveillance Program documented 1848 time-loss injuries during 579 553 AEs. The injury rate was higher in college than in high school (3.19 versus 1.16/1000 AEs; IRR = 2.76; 95% CI = 2.57, 2.96). The competition injury rate was higher than the practice injury rate in high school (IRR = 2.02; 95% CI = 1.82, 2.25) and in college (IRR = 1.39; 95% CI = 1.27, 1.52). Softball players at both levels sustained a variety of injuries, with the most common being ankle sprains and concussions. Many injuries also occurred while fielding or running bases.
Injury rates were greater in collegiate versus high school softball and in competitions versus practices. These findings highlight the need for injury-prevention interventions, including strength-training and prevention programs to reduce ankle sprains and provide protection for batters from pitches and fielders from batted balls.