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Capstone

An Investigation of Injuries Affecting Young Female Club Gymnasts

1 May 2003

Abstract

Background and purpose. While several studies have been published related to injury in elite and collegiate gymnasts, few studies have reported injuries to club gymnasts. Due to the increase in difficulty of skills, increase in training time, modifications to gymnastics equipment, and the increasingly younger population involved in gymnastics in the last decade, we feIt it was prudent to investigate the impact of these developments on injuries in gymnastics today. This study examined the total number of injuries occurring with respect to injury location on the body, the event involved, the skill being performed, the circumstance of injury, and whether it occurred in practice or competition.

Subjects and Methods. Eighty-one female club gymnasts, with a mean age of 12.3 +/- 2.2, completed Injury Survey Forms (ISFs) when they sustained an injury during the six month data collection period.

Results. The gymnasts sustained a total of 104 injuries, resulting in an injury rate of 128% over the six month period. The floor exercise was found to result in a statistically significant 41.4% of the total injuries. The ankle was the most frequently injured body part sustaining a statistically significant 21.2% of the total injuries.

Discussion and Conclusion. We found parallel trends between the club gymnasts we studied and the collegiate gymnasts studied in the literature with respect to the distribution of injuries per body part and event. Our injury rate of 128% over six months is similar in comparison to other literature that examined injury rates over a 12 month time period. Due to the differences in injury definition, methods of data collection, and length of studies, it is difficult to draw conclusions about the impact of increased difficulty of skills, increase in training time, modifications to gymnastics equipment, and the increasingly younger population involved in gymnastics. However, these factors do not appear to have increased gymnastics injury rates significantly in the last decade, for the injury rates found in our study were similar to those found in studies performed ten years ago.


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