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DOES INJURY DEFINITION MATTER? THE INFLUENCE OF INJURY DEFINITION ON INTERPRETATIONS OF INJURY RISK IN PRE-PROFESSIONAL BALLET AND CONTEMPORARY DANCERS
  1. Sarah Kenny1,
  2. Luz Palacios-Derflingher1,
  3. Jackie Whittaker2,
  4. Carolyn Emery1
  1. 1Sport Injury Prevention Research Centre, Faculty of Kinesiology, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada
  2. 2Department of Physical Therapy, Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada

    Abstract

    Background The influence of injury definition on the interpretation of epidemiological outcomes of injury risk has not been previously evaluated in a dance population.

    Objective To determine the influence of injury definition (i.e., time loss, medical attention, all complaints) on the prevalence and rate of musculoskeletal injuries in pre-professional ballet and contemporary dancers.

    Design Prospective cohort.

    Setting Pre-professional ballet school; university dance program.

    Participants Dancers registered in full-time pre-professional ballet [n=85, 77 females, median (range) age 15 yrs (11–19 yrs)] and contemporary [n=60, 58 females, 19 yrs (17–30 yrs)] training.

    Main Outcome Measurements Dancers completed a weekly online questionnaire (modified Oslo Sports Trauma Research Centre's Questionnaire on Health Problems) using three definitions for dance-related injuries: (1) time loss (an inability to complete one or more classes, rehearsals or performances one or more days beyond onset); (2) medical attention; and (3) any complaint. Physiotherapists completed injury report forms, capturing dance-related medical attention and time loss injuries. Percent agreement was estimated between injury registration methods. Descriptive statistics [proportions, 95% confidence intervals (95% CI)] summarized injury prevalence (IP; seasonal proportion of dancers injured). Injury incidence rates (IIR; number of new injuries/1000 dance exposure hours) were examined for each definition, registration method, and dance style.

    Results Dancer questionnaire response rate was 98.99%. Agreement between injury registration methods ranged between 58.82% (time loss) and 72.94% (medical attention). Depending on definition, registration, and dance style, IP varied from 9.41% (95% CI: 4.15, 17.71; time loss) to 82.35% (95% CI: 72.56, 89.77; all complaint), and IIRs spanned 0.09 (95% CI: 0.01, 0.17; time loss) to 4.89 (95% CI: 4.04, 5.74; all complaint) injuries/1000 dance hours.

    Conclusions Injuries resulting in time loss and medical attention underestimate the burden of injury in a pre-professional dance population. To understand the full impact of injury on a dance population, it is imperative that registration methodologies consider definitions that capture all injuries.

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