Background The competitive youth sailor appears to be at risk for injuries, but there are few reports on their injury patterns.
Objective To describe the incidence, pattern, and severity of sailing-related injuries and illnesses among competitive youth sailors.
Design Retrospective descriptive study.
Setting Prior to and during the 43rd ISAF Youth Sailing World Championship, sailors were invited to answer an interviewer-administered 12-month recall questionnaire.
Participants Participating sailors of the ISAF World Youth Sailing Championship, 13–20 July 2013, Limassol, Cyprus.
Risk factor assessment The following risk factors were studied: training load; participation in other sport; use of sunscreen/lifejacket; alcohol and drug consumption.
Main outcome measurements The occurrence or non-occurrence of sailing-related injuries and illnesses; the number of injuries; the site, type, cause/mechanism of injury; and contributing factors to injury.
Results 287 (82%) out of 351 sailors completed the questionnaire. 50 sailors reported a total of 60 injuries. The rate of injury was 0.42 injuries per 1000 hours of sailing. The 3 most injured sites were the lower back (24%), knee (18%) and ankle (9%). The top 3 injury types were sprain (21%), muscle strain/tear (16%), and muscle cramp/spasm (16%). No associations were found between injury occurrence and age, gender, class, helm/crew position, participation in other sport, years competing, and training load. Medical care was sought for 17% of injuries, and 12% were considered severe. Of the nine illnesses, sunburn was the most common symptom (29%) and the dermatological system was most commonly affected (44%).
Conclusions Competitive youth sailors report mainly lower back and knee injuries, similar to studies of elite adult sailors. Half of the injuries were attributed to overuse, while a significant proportion (31%) were acute. Compared to adult sailors, a higher proportion of youth sailors required rest from sailing, although they had less injury per 1000 sailing hours. This study informs future efforts in injury prevention and recovery in youth sailors.
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