It appears to me that intensity is the biggest predictor of injury. Intensity relative to the structures being imposed.
Driving 5mph into a wall isn’t dangerous and isn’t likely to lead to injury. Driving 50mph into a wall is a different story. A defensive back falling on your knee might not cause too much damage, but an offensive lineman getting thrown into your knee is also a different story. Deadlifting 100lbs if your max is 500 ins’t going to challenge your tissues too much, but if you keep trying to max out over 500lbs, again, this is a different story, which is why during training we manipulate intensities and volumes to not impose too much of the same stress to the system at once.
Intensity will not always lead to injury. But, the more you ramp up intensity, the demand on your system goes up, and the probability for injury is just simply higher.
I hate the injury prevention talk, because in a world full of randomness it’s hard to prevent anything. But, if looking at injuries through this framework, it seems to me that the best way to “prevent” injury is to create tissues, or more so, a system that is more resilient or robust.
I think there are many ways to create this resilience and robustness, and with this framework in mind it becomes easier to pick the tools at your disposal to drive the adaptations you want.