Introduction Taekwondo constitutes one of the most ancient Korean self-defensive martial art. The nature of Taekwondo is such that requires eruptive, fast and strong kicks. The first official participation of the sport in the Olympic program took place in 2000, with the city of Sydney in Australia as the host of the Olympic Games. Particular interest concerning the study of injuries in martial arts has aroused the last decades.1 Nevertheless, only a small number of studies regarding injury epidemiology in martial arts can be found in international literature.
Aim The present research study is aiming to investigate the nature and the frequency of injuries in Greek Taekwondo athletes, either in training or playing field, as well as an overall assessment of characteristics upon training procedures.
Methodology The research sample constituted of 150 Taekwondo Greek athletes, men and women, concerning those who had experienced various kinds of injuries during training or competition games or both. Athletes of the Greek National Team participated also in the present study. Athletes who had never experienced injury incidents and were under 14 years of age were excluded from the research.
The means of record was an extemporary questionnaire, which resulted after thorough investigation of the international literature. The questionnaire constituted of five pages and contained overall 28 short questions. The final form of the questionnaire was concluded after performing a precedent pilot study in a sample of 15 athletes. For the statistical data process of the results, the statistic package of SPSS 13 for Windows was used.
Results The area in which the majority of injuries occurs in Taekwondo seems to be the head and the lower limbs, while injuries are mostly related with muscles and tendons, ankle sprains, bruises, fractures, as well as incidents of brain concussion resulting after kicks in the head.
According to findings of this research study, the regular usage of protective equipment, the use of bandage around the ankle during training and stretching exercises on regular basis in training, can be proved effective in order to reduce the possibility of an injury during training (p<0.01). Moreover, the interference of physiotherapy can reduce the postoccurrence of disturbances in training conditions, due to the elapsed injury (p<0.05).
Conclusions-Discussion Because of the fact that Taekwondo is enlisted in contact-type sports, injury occurrence tends to be more frequent in contrast with other sports, in which physical contact between opponents is more rare. The knowledge of the reasons that cause those kind of injuries (deriving from physical contact) is of significant importance, not only for the athlete but also for the trainer of Taekwondo, so as to meet the appropriate precautions to prevent injuries. Therefore, trainers of Taekwondo should take into account all the required precautions during training, such as stretching exercises after warm-up, regular use of protective equipment, as well as use of bandage in the ankle, especially for the athletes with sprain history.
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