Sports injuries in high school athletes: a review of injury-risk and injury-prevention research

You are here:
< All Topics


Tim McGuine



The objective of this review is to identify the available research regarding the risk factors and prevention of injuries in high school athletes (ages 14 to 18 years).

Data sources

Relevant manuscripts were identified by searching six electronic databases with a combination of key words and medical subject headings (high school, adolescent, athletic injury, sports injury, risk factors, prevention, and prospective).

Study selection

Original research that reported prospective data on high school athletes (ages 14 to 18), reported injury and exposure data, and used data collected throughout the entire sport season or school year.

Data extraction

Twenty-nine studies that identified injury risk factors or injury prevention strategies were reviewed and summarized. Data extracted from the studies included a) sport(s) or injuries studied, b) year of publication, c) lead author, d) description of the subjects, e) sample-size calculation, f) variables studied (baseline demographic or performance variables), g) whether multivariate analyses were used, h) data reported (injury rates, risk ratios, and 95% CI), and i) results. Studies that introduced an intervention were characterized by the same data as well as the type of intervention employed and randomization procedures used.

Data synthesis

The quality of each injury-risk and injury-prevention study was assessed, and the results were summarized.


The risk factors for injury in several specific sports such as soccer, American football, and basketball have been documented. Other sports are less well represented in the current literature. The risk factors for injuries to the ankle, head, and knee have been identified, to a limited degree. Upper-extremity injury risk factors are less well known. There is a need for high-quality prospective studies to further identify injury risk factors and injury-prevention strategies for high school athletes.


McGuine T. Sports injuries in high school athletes: a review of injury-risk and injury-prevention research. Clin J Sport Med. 2006;16(6):488-499. doi:10.1097/01.jsm.0000248848.62368.43

Article Navigation