Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

PLOS Global Public Health




School of Medical and Health Sciences




Defence Science Centre Western Australia, grant number G1004733 (JS) / Australian Government Research Training Program (RTP) Scholarship (JS)


Stannard, J., Finch, C. F., & Fortington, L. V. (2022). Improving musculoskeletal injury surveillance methods in special operation forces: a Delphi consensus study. PLOS Global Public Health, 2(1), Article e0000096.


Musculoskeletal injury mitigation is a priority in military organisations to protect personnel health and sustain a capable workforce. Despite efforts to prevent injury, inconsistencies exist in the evidence used to support these activities. There are many known limitations in the injury surveillance data reported in previous Special Operation Forces (SOF) research. Such studies often lack accurate, reliable, and complete data to inform and evaluate injury prevention activities. This research aimed to achieve expert consensus on injury surveillance methods in SOF to enhance the quality of data that could be used to inform injury prevention in this population. A Delphi study was conducted with various military injury surveillance stakeholders to seek agreement on improving surveillance methods in SOF. Iterative questionnaires using close and open-ended questions were used to collect views about surveillance methods related to injury case definitions and identifying essential and optional data requirements. Consensus was predefined as 75 % group agreement on an item. Sixteen participants completed two rounds of questionnaires required. Consensus was achieved for 17.9 % (n = 7) of questions in the first-round and 77.5 % (n = 38) of round two questions. Several challenges for surveillance were identified, including recording injury causation, SOF personnel’s injury reporting behaviours influencing accurate data collection, and surveillance system infrastructure limitations. Key military injury surveillance stakeholders support the need for improved data collection to enhance the evidence that underpins injury prevention efforts. The consensus process has resulted in preliminary recommendations to support future SOF injury surveillance.



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.