Objectives: To examine the published evidence on interventions to prevent softball related injuries among adults, and to encourage more epidemiologic research as a foundation for future softball injury prevention efforts.
Methods: The authors reviewed literature identified from six electronic databases for studies on softball related injuries. The search was limited to studies written in the English language, published between 1970 and 2002, and involving adult populations. Research was excluded that evaluated baseball (“hard ball”) related injuries or was aimed at injury treatment. Identified studies were categorized by study design. Intervention/prevention papers were evaluated further and described in detail.
Results: The search strategy identified 39 studies specifically related to softball. Most studies were case reports/case series (n = 13) or descriptive studies (n = 11); only four were analytic or intervention/prevention studies. Studies collected data in a variety of ways, often without denominator data to permit calculation of injury rates. Studies also did not differentiate between slow or fast pitch softball activities and most did not mention the type of softball that was used.
Conclusions: Surprisingly few studies exist on interventions to reduce injuries during softball, one of the most popular recreational sports in the US. Of the existing literature, much attention has been on sliding related injuries, which comprise only a segment of softball injuries. Basic epidemiologic studies describing the nature, severity, and risk factors for softball injuries in a variety of populations are needed, followed by additional intervention evaluation studies aimed at modifiable risk factors.
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Competing interest statement: on behalf of all authors, the corresponding author declares that there are no competing interests of any sort for this research.
Ethics approval: this literature review was not required to undergo review by the Johns Hopkins Committee on Human Research.
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