Br J Sports Med 44:207-214 doi:10.1136/bjsm.2008.048561
  • Original article

A 12-month prospective cohort study of injury in international rowers

  1. C Simms3
  1. 1School of Physiotherapy, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland
  2. 2St Mary’s University College, Twickenham, Middlesex, UK
  3. 3Department of Mechanical Engineering., Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland
  1. Correspondence to Fiona Wilson, School of Physiotherapy, Trinity Centre for Health Sciences, St James’s Hospital, Dublin 8, Ireland; wilsonf{at}
  • Accepted 15 July 2008
  • Published Online First 21 August 2008


Objective In this study, the injury incidence and association with type and volume of training in international rowers were described.

Design A prospective cohort design was used over a 12-month period.

Patients 20 international rowers who were competing as part of the Irish Amateur Rowing Union squad system.

Methods The rowers were interviewed monthly, and data were collected regarding their training and competition exposure as well as their injury experience.

Results A mean injury rate of 3.67 per 1000 exposure hours was reported with a total of 44 injuries reported in a 12-month period. The mean number of injuries sustained per athlete was 2.2 (1.24) over the 12-month period. The area where the greatest number of injuries were reported was the lumbar spine (31.82% of total injuries, 95% CI 20 to 50) (fig 2) followed by the knee (15.91% of total injuries, 95% CI 10 to 30) and the cervical spine (11.36% of total injuries, 95% CI 5 to 24). Half of the injuries (22 injuries, 50% of total reported injuries) were to the spine (χ2 = 30.8, df = 9, p = 0.0003). Ergometer training load was the most significantly associated with injury risk (r = 0.68, p = 0.01).

Conclusion International rowers are at higher risk of injury than most non-contact sports and some contact sports. The high risk of lumbar spine injury and the significant association of high volume of ergometer training merit further research to reduce time and competition lost to injury.


  • Competing interests None.

Free sample

This 2015 issue is free to all users to allow everyone the opportunity to see the full scope and typical content of BJSM.
View free sample issue >>

Email alerts

Don't forget to sign up for content alerts so you keep up to date with all the articles as they are published.

Navigate This Article