Document Type

Article (Journal or Newsletter)

Scholarship Type

Faculty Scholarship

Publication Date




Track and field (T&F) athletes compete in a variety of events that require different skills and training characteristics. Descriptive epidemiology studies often fail to describe event-specific injury patterns.


To describe the epidemiology of injuries in National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) T&F by sex, setting (practice vs competition), and time of season (indoor vs outdoor) and to compare injury patterns by events within the sport.

Study Design:

Descriptive epidemiology study.


Data were obtained from the NCAA Injury Surveillance Program for all indoor and outdoor T&F injuries during the academic years 2009-2010 to 2013-2014. Injury rates, injury rate ratios, and injury proportion ratios (IPRs) were reported and compared by sex, injury setting, season, and event. Analysis included time-loss as well as no-time loss injuries.


Over the 5 seasons, the overall injury rate was 3.99 injuries per 1000 athletic-exposures (95% CI, 3.79-4.20). After controlling for injury diagnoses, women’s T&F athletes experienced an 18% higher risk of injury (95% CI, 7% to 31%) and missed 41% more time after an injury (95% CI, 4% to 93%) when compared with men. Among all athletes, the injury risk during competition was 71% higher (95% CI, 50% to 95%) compared with practice and required 59% more time loss (95% CI, 7% to 135%). Distance running accounted for a significantly higher proportion of overuse injuries (IPR, 1.70; 95% CI, 1.40-2.05; P < .05) and required 168% more time loss (95% CI, 78% to 304%) than other events. The hip and thigh were the body regions most commonly injured; injury type, however, varied by T&F event. Sprinting accounted for the greatest proportion of hip and thigh injuries, distance running had the greatest proportion of lower leg injuries, and throwing reported the greatest proportion of spine and upper extremity injuries.


Injury risk in NCAA T&F varied by sex, season, and setting. Higher injury rates were found in women versus men, indoor versus outdoor seasons, and competitions versus practices. The hip and thigh were the body regions most commonly injured; however, injury types varied by event. These findings may provide insight to programs aiming to reduce the risk of injury and associated time loss in collegiate T&F.


Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine, Volume 10, Issue 1

Additional Affiliated Department, Center or Institute

Health Sciences

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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