Statement of Purpose Time loss (TL) following sports-related injury is typically examined using a categorization of days lost. It has recently been shown that TL can be modeled as a count of days lost from participation to reflect the recovery process by accounting for latent injury severity. We examine factors associated with recovery following lower extremity (LE) injuries in collegiate basketball athletes.
Methods Athletic trainers participating in the National Collegiate Athletic Association Injury Surveillance Program reported LE injury data for 693,953 men’s basketball and 619,748 women’s basketball athlete-exposures during the 2009/10–2018/19 academic years. TL was calculated using the injury date and date of return to participation. Random effect Poisson regression models were used to determine factors associated with recovery.
Results Overall, 5,887 LE injuries were reported. Expected TL after LE injury differed across gender (p<0.0001), division (p<0.0001), season (p=0.001), and injury site (p<0.0001), conditional on the random effect (i.e. latent severity). Expected TL after LE injury in women’s basketball was 50% higher than men’s basketball for injuries of similar severity. Expected TL in Division I athletes was 56% lower than Division III athletes. Expected TL for hip/groin, lower leg/Achilles, and thigh injuries was lower than ankle injuries; knee injuries had 95% higher TL than ankle injuries. No TL differential was observed between injuries of different mechanisms or surfaces.
Conclusions There were several factors that had an impact on the recovery process following LE injury. Female athletes had a longer recovery time on average compared to their male counterparts. Recovery was shorter for DI athletes compared to DIII. Knee injuries had the longest expected recovery time of LE injuries.
Significance and contributions to injury and violence prevention and science Modeling TL as a count of days lost is a novel and clinically meaningful method of examining injury recovery. This approach can lead to context-specific injury recovery and rehabilitation strategies to aid in safely returning athletes to participation.
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