Musculoskeletal Medicine and PainOriginal Article

An analysis of Google Trends following athletic injuries by high profile NBA players during the 2019 NBA finals

Jay C. Thompson, DO; Christopher M. Price, DO; Jake X. Checketts, DO; Chad Hanson, DO; Trevor Torgerson, BS; Micah Hartwell, PhD; and Matt B. Vassar, PhD
Notes and Affiliations
Notes and Affiliations

Received: October 15, 2020

Accepted: February 4, 2021

Published: March 12, 2021

  • Jay C. Thompson, DO, 

    Department of Orthopedic Surgery in Oklahoma, Oklahoma State University Medical Center, Tulsa, OK, USA

  • Christopher M. Price, DO, 

    Department of Institutional Research in Oklahoma, Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences, Tulsa, OK, USA

  • Jake X. Checketts, DO, 

    Department of Orthopedic Surgery in Oklahoma, Oklahoma State University Medical Center, Tulsa, OK, USA

  • Chad Hanson, DO, 

    Department of Orthopedic Surgery in Oklahoma, Oklahoma State University Medical Center, Tulsa, OK, USA

  • Trevor Torgerson, BS, 

    Department of Institutional Research in Oklahoma, Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences, Tulsa, OK, USA

  • Micah Hartwell, PhD, 

    Department of Institutional Research in Oklahoma, Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences, Tulsa, OK, USA

  • Matt B. Vassar, PhD, 

    Department of Institutional Research in Oklahoma, Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences, Tulsa, OK, USA

Abstract

Context: Injuries are common among high profile players in the National Basketball Association (NBA), and could provide an opportunity for physicians to provide accurate sports injury information and reliable rehabilitation data to the general public in the immediate aftermath.

Objectives: To evaluate social media trends to investigate public interest in athletic injuries in the NBA and to evaluate the length of maintained interest in these injuries.

Methods: The Google Trends tool was used to analyze search data around two high profile players—Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson—who suffered injuries during the 2019 NBA Finals. The results were compared to the expected search forecast derived from an autoregressive integrated moving algorithm model.

Results: Both players were associated with a mean increase of 1,052.4% (standard deviation [SD], 703.96%) in relative search volumes for terms related to their injuries. This data showed a significant increase in search engine activity related to injuries associated with NBA players in the first 6.13 days (SD, 3.14 days) following the injuries, marking a substantial timeframe for public engagement.

Conclusions: Search traffic information may be beneficial to the sports medicine community, as social media can provide a platform for patient education in a limited timeframe. By increasing patient awareness and knowledge regarding athletic injuries, social media can expand the pool of potential patients for physicians and surgeons.

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