Background: Limited knowledge exists on injuries among professional alpine skiers.
Objective: To describe the risk of injury and the injury pattern among competitive World Cup alpine skiers during the competitive season.
Methods: Retrospective interviews were performed with all World Cup athletes from 10 nations at the end of the 2006–7 and 2007–8 winter seasons, and all acute injuries occurring during the 4.5-month competitive season were recorded. If the athlete was not present, their coaches or medical personnel were interviewed.
Results: A total of 191 acute injuries were recorded among 521 World Cup alpine skiers. As many as 86 injuries (45%) occurred during World Cup/World Ski Championship competitions, corresponding to an injury rate of 9.8 injuries per 1000 runs (95% CI 7.8 to 11.9). The injury rate was found to increase with increasing speed (slalom 4.9 injuries per 1000 runs, 95% CI 2.5 to 7.4—giant slalom 9.2, 5.1 to 13.3—super-G 11.0, 5.2 to 16.8—downhill 17.2, 11.6 to 22.7). The most frequently injured body part was the knee, with 68 injuries (36%), and 37 of these were severe. The overall injury rate was higher in males than in females, but not for knee injuries.
Conclusions : The risk of injury among World Cup athletes in alpine skiing is even higher than previously reported. The knee is the most commonly injured body part and with many severe injuries. Injury rate increased with a higher speed and was higher among males than in females.
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Funding This project has been established through a generous grant from djo and the International Ski Federation (FIS). The Oslo Sports Trauma Research Center has been established at the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences through grants from the Royal Norwegian Ministry of Culture and Church Affairs, the South-Eastern Norway Regional Health Authority, the Norwegian Olympic Committee & Confederation of Sport and Norsk Tipping AS.
Competing interests None.
Ethics approval Ethics approval was provided by Regional Committee for Medical Research Ethics, Region Øst-Norge and the Norwegian Social Science Data Services.
Patient consent Obtained.
Provenance and Peer review Commissioned; not externally peer reviewed.
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