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NCAA Injury Surveillance Program FAQs

What is the NCAA Injury Surveillance Program?

The ISP is a data collection initiative designed to track and analyze medical illnesses and injuries that result from sport participation. Since 1982, athletic trainers have collaborated with the NCAA to create the largest collegiate sports injury database program in the world. To enhance the care of college athletes, your school’s participation is needed.

Who administers the NCAA Injury Surveillance Program?

The NCAA Sport Science Institute partners with the Datalys Center to manage the ISP and to help inform injury prevention policies and practices in college sport. The Datalys Center manages data collection, analysis and information dissemination in response to the needs of the NCAA membership and staff.

What is the Datalys Center and why does the NCAA partner with this organization?

The NCAA began its partnership with the Datalys Center in 2009 in an effort to enhance the ISP program by transitioning to a common data element standard compatible with schools’ Electronic Medical Records. The Datalys Center is an independent non-profit organization that furthers the efforts of researchers, public health officials, associations, policy makers and the public by collecting and translating sport injury and treatment data.

Who can participate in the ISP?

All NCAA member schools can participate in the ISP. At this time, participation is completely voluntary.

If I participate, do I need to submit data for all the sports sponsored by my institution? 

No, you do not need to submit data for all the sports at your school. The NCAA’s goal, and its request, is that each participating school submits data for two to three sports per season. Staff at the Datalys Center can advise schools on their participation decisions, based on both the school’s sport sponsorships as well the information needs of the ISP. For example, if a volunteering school sponsors a less frequently sponsored sport, like water polo, it is likely that school will be asked to submit data for that sport.

Greater participation will only enhance the ISP. If a school is willing to submit data for more than two to three sports per season, or for all of their sports, they are welcome and encouraged to do so.

What kind of time commitment is required to participate in the ISP?

For schools with compatible EMRs, participation requires about 20 additional minutes of data entry per week, per sport.

How does a school participate in the ISP?

Upon registering for the ISP, a school will be able to enter practice and competition activities through its compatible electronic medical record system. To determine how many student-athletes are at risk of injury, the school must provide the number of participating student-athletes for each activity. The school’s medical staff simply record injury information as part of their normal medical practice, along with a few additional questions used to better inform injury prevention practices (e.g. what activity was the student-athlete doing at the time of the injury?).

How does information actually get sent to the ISP?

To help make the data submission process easier, the ISP is currently compatible with five commonly used electronic medical record systems. They are:

  • Athletic Trainer System.
  • CSMI Solutions SportsWare Online.
  • SIMS.
  • Vivature NExTT.
  • Presagia Sports (Presagia Sports will be compatible beginning in the 2018-19 academic year).

Depending on the electronic medical record system, once entered, data are either automatically sent to the ISP, or the athletic trainer pushes a button within the electronic medical record to send the data.

Can I participate if I don’t have a compatible EMR or if I don’t have an EMR system at all?

Yes, the Datalys Center offers a free web-based system. To access this system, contact the Datalys Center at NCAAISP@datalyscenter.org or 855-832-4222.

Why should my school participate in the ISP?

Sports medicine departments at every NCAA school seek answers to the most pressing injury management and prevention questions facing student-athletes. Serving as the largest epidemiologic database of its kind, the ISP can help answer these questions. With your school’s help, the ISP can provide evidence-based knowledge to help understand associations between sport participation and illness/injury, thereby enhancing injury prevention practices, risk-management decisions, athletic health care delivery and ultimately, the quality of student-athlete care at all NCAA schools.

Engaging in ongoing injury surveillance efforts is also a professional responsibility recognized by most sports medicine professions. The NCAA ISP provides an established, secure and useful framework for primary athletics health care providers to monitor the injury and illness trends of their own student-athletes.

How will my school benefit from participating in the ISP?

  • Enhance the quality of student-athlete health care at your school.
  • Obtain data regarding illness and injury relationship to sport participation.
  • Receive regular access to data that can inform injury prevention practices, risk and personnel management and medical decision-making at your school.
  • Contribute to national health and safety policy and sport rules changes.
  • Further scientific research about top health and safety risks to student-athletes.
  • Receive free continuing education credits for athletic trainers.

Is continuing education credit available for athletic trainers who use the ISP?

Participating athletic trainers are eligible to receive 10 Category B CEUs. Each athletic trainer who participates is eligible for these CEUs.

Is the ISP HIPAA and FERPA compliant?

Yes. All the ISP data are de-identified and the system is both HIPAA and FERPA compliant.

Will my school have access to the data it provides to the ISP?

Participating NCAA schools may request their data from the Datalys Center at any time. In addition, aggregate ISP data is frequently presented at scientific conferences and made publicly available through peer-reviewed publications documented on the Datalys Center website.

Is training provided for how to contribute to the ISP?

Yes. Free training and support is available for all ISP participants through the Datalys Center in collaboration with certified vendors.

How can my school sign-up to participate in the ISP?

To sign up or for questions about the ISP, contact the Datalys Center at NCAAISP@datalyscenter.org or 855-832-4222.