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Estimating the international burden of sport-related death: a review of data sources

Abstract

Introduction Despite detailed recommendations for sports injury data capture provided since the mid-1990s, international data collection efforts for sport-related death remains limited in scope. The purpose of this paper was to review the data sources available for studying sport-related death and describe their key features, coverage, accessibility and strengths and limitations.

Methods The outcomes of interest for this review was death occurring as a result of participation in organised sport-related activity. Data sources used to enumerate death in sport were identified, drawing from the authors’ knowledge/experience and review of key references from international organisations. The general purpose, case identification, structure, strengths and limitations of each source in relation to collection of data for sport-related death were summarised, drawing on examples from the international published literature to illustrate this application.

Results Seven types of resources were identified for capturing deaths in sport. Data sources varied considerably in their ability to identify: participant status, sport relatedness of the death, types of sport-related deaths they capture, level of detail provided about the circumstances and medical care received. The most detailed sources were those that were dedicated to sports surveillance. Sport relatedness and type of sport may not be reliably captured by systems not dedicated to sports injury surveillance. Only one source permitted international comparisons and was limited to one sport (soccer).

Conclusion Data on sport-related death are currently collected across a wide variety of data sources. This review highlights the need for robust, comprehensive approaches with standardised methodologies enabling linkage between sources and international comparisons.

  • recreation/sports
  • mortality
  • surveillance
  • epidemiology
  • registry

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