Could you tell us more about yourself and the author team?
I am a sports medicine physician at the University Hospital of Saint-Etienne and a University Professor in Physiology focusing on sports medicine at the University Jean Monnet Saint-Etienne in France. I’m passionate about athletics! My clinical activities are mainly focused on managing athletics athletes, my research activities are mainly focused on better understanding injuries in athletics and how to reduce their risk, and my teaching activities are mainly focused on disseminating all these experiences to improve clinical practice and, in turn, athletes’ health protection and injury prevention.
I like collaborative work! A study, a manuscript, is, for me, a human story. Communication, exchanges, and discussions improve the project. Each team member’s competencies, expertise and experiences can benefit and enhance the overall project, allowing us to improve ourselves. The author’s team is composed of colleagues who are more than colleagues, with whom the story is not only on the study and the manuscript but also continues in our life. So, working with them is a great pleasure and highly enthusiastic!
What is the story behind your study?
During the 2017-2018, we conducted a randomised controlled trial (RCT) in athletics (track and field) athletes (Edouard et al. 2021: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34769849/). This was the first RCT in track and field athletes. As with all RCT, this was a lot of work, mainly because of individual sports. The results were frustrating as the response rate to the weekly questionnaires was low, and only 9% of athletes in the intervention group did the intervention (Edouard et al. 2021). But, we had a promising database to better understand injury occurrence. Therefore, we continued working on the database to improve knowledge of injuries in athletics and still be able to help athletes reduce their injuries.
In your own words, what did you find?
With this study, I think that we provided relevant and helpful information for both scientific and clinical fields. This is a win-win result. Scientifically, we added knowledge to help understand the factors playing a role in the occurrence of injuries in athletics. For the field, we highlighted some key parameters, i.e., injury at the start of the season or follow-up, subjective fitness, illness, and ease of monitoring, that could help to manage injury risk reduction of athletes during a season. We hope that athletes, coaches, and health professionals will use them.
What was the main challenge you faced in your study?
In the present analysis and study, we aimed to perform a rigorous and clear statistical analysis regarding risk factors. We chose to use time-to-event analysis. And because of this, we could not analyse what happened after the first injury event. But in reality, life continues after the first injury event; athletes continue to train, and it is also interesting to understand the risk of re-injury. We have to find a way to extend such analyses. In addition, it was also necessary to find a way to present the results of the time-to-event analysis in an understandable way for the readers, and this was the subject of several discussions inside the author team.
If there is one takeaway message from your study, what would it be?
The critical message is To help reduce injury risk in athletes, explore the pre-existing injury presence at the season’s beginning, monitor the fitness subjective state and illnesses occurrence during the season, and manage these athletes carefully.