Preprint / Version 1

Injury risk and prevention research in sports: Are the titles delivering on their promises or just a sales pitch to capitalize on a hot topic?

A systematic scoping review including 1,390 studies


  • José Afonso University of Porto - Faculty of Sport
  • Andreia Pizarro Research Centre in Physical Activity, Health and Leisure, Faculty of Sport, University of Porto, Portugal
  • Tania Pizzari La Trobe Sport and Exercise Medicine Research Centre, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  • Guus Reurink Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine, Amsterdam Medical Center, University of Amsterdam
  • Filipe Manuel Clemente
  • Ana Filipa Silva Escola Superior Desporto e Lazer, Instituto Politécnico de Viana do Castelo, Rua Escola Industrial e Comercial de Nun’Álvares, 4900-347 Viana do Castelo, Portugal
  • Zeki Akyildiz Department of Coaching Education, Sports Science Faculty, Afyon Kocatepe University
  • Rongzhi Chen Centre of Research, Education, Innovation, and Intervention in Sport (CIFI2D), Faculty of Sport, University of Porto, Portugal
  • Rohit Kumar Thapa Symbiosis School of Sports Sciences, Symbiosis International (Deemed University), Pune, India
  • João Renato Silva Centre of Research, Education, Innovation, and Intervention in Sport (CIFI2D), Faculty of Sport, University of Porto, Portugal
  • Hugo Sarmento University of Coimbra, Faculty of Sport Sciences and Physical Education, Research Unit for Sport and Physical Activity, Coimbra, Portugal
  • Rodrigo Ramirez-Campillo Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences Institute, School of Physical Therapy, Faculty of Rehabilitation Sciences, Universidad Andres Bello. Santiago, 7591538, Chile
  • Renato Andrade Clínica Espregueira - FIFA Medical Centre of Excellence, Porto, Portugal
  • Sílvia Rocha-Rodrigues Escola Superior Desporto e Lazer, Instituto Politécnico de Viana do Castelo, Rua Escola Industrial e Comercial de Nun’Álvares, 4900-347 Viana do Castelo, Portugal



injury risk, injury prevention, science communication, metascience, data reporting


Background: Injury risk and prevention are hot topics, leading to authors using “catchy” titles to grab the readers’ attention.

Objectives: To assess if empirical studies with titles containing “injury risk” or “injury prevention” deliver injury data.

Methods: Scoping review of injury risk or prevention studies with athletes and para-athletes. Databases included CINAHL, EMBASE, PubMed, Scopus, SPORTDiscus, Web of Science (no date or language limits). Matching of titles to injury data used a two-layer system.

Results: Of 147,125 records screened, 1,390 studies were included. Nearly one-third of empirical studies with “injury prevention” or “injury risk” in their title failed to provide injury data. Almost 40% of titles using “injury prevention” provided no injury data, and ~25% had injury data that were unrelated to any prevention measure. Titles could include qualifiers to denote that their goal was not to assess injuries, but related topics (e.g., adherence to an injury prevention program). Considering only titles with no such qualifiers, injury data were still absent in ~20% of the studies and this omission has been increasing consistently over time (e.g., 10% from 1984-2000, 22% from 2016-onwards).

Conclusions: A growing percentage of empirical studies with titles about “injury risk” and “injury prevention” do not report injury data, potentially leading to wasted research effort and misguided practical applications. Authors, reviewers, and editors share responsibility for accurate portrayal of injury studies. We propose a ruleset for more transparent reporting in future studies.

Registration: Open Science Framework public project ( and registration (


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