Can We Go Online for Sports Injury Prevention? A Systematic Review of English-Language Websites with Exercise-Based Sports Injury Risk Reduction Programmes

Aleksandra Katarzyna Mącznik, Poonam Mehta, Mandeep Kaur

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background: Preventing sports injuries is at the forefront of sports medicine. Although effective preventive strategies in scientific literature exist, their implementation is lagging behind. The Internet could support the translation of knowledge from the literature to end-users, but the quality of the online resources would have to be assured. This online-based systematic review is to assess availability, readability, quality, and content of the websites presenting exercise-based sports injury risk reduction (prevention) programmes. Moreover, the quality of reporting and contents of the exercise programmes were assessed. Methods: Google, Yahoo, and Bing were searched on 2 September 2018. We used ‘sports injury prevention program*’ and ‘sports injury prevention warm-up’ as search phrases. The owners/authors of the included websites were asked for further recommendations on online resources. Search updates were run in DuckDuckGo on 15 May 2020 and 22 August 2021. Eligible websites were active, in English, and contained instructions for the exercise/s aiming at sports injury prevention. Two reviewers independently screened the links and previews and performed an in-depth appraisal of included websites. The website quality was assessed using JAMA framework criteria and Health on the Net Foundation Code of Conduct (HONcode) certification. The readability of websites was assessed using the Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease score. The reporting appraisal of exercise programmes was done using the modified Consensus on Exercise Reporting Template (CERT). Results: Among 480 websites screened, 16 were eligible with an additional four recommended and nine found in search updates (29 in total). None of the websites was certified by HONcode. The overall quality of websites was low 2.1 ± 1.0/4, but overall readability was high 67 ± 17/100. The average quality of reporting of exercise programmes was low 5.79 ± 3.1/12. Websites with community input had the lowest readability, but the highest quality, and vice versa websites run by businesses had the highest readability, but the lowest quality. Eight websites presented programmes tested for effectiveness. Conclusions: Overall, the quality of the websites was low, but their readability was high. Improvements required are relatively easy to implement (i.e. including the date when the website was updated, applying for HONcode certification) and extremely important (e.g. providing resources on which the website’s content is based). There are some sports injury risk reduction programmes reported with high quality and effectiveness-tested available online for team sports, but none for individual sports. Trial Registration This review has been registered in the PROSPERO (CRD42019107104).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number80
JournalSports Medicine - Open
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Exercise programme
  • Online health resources
  • Sports injuries
  • Sports injury prevention
  • Sports injury risk reduction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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