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Epidemiology of injuries in judo: a cross-sectional survey of severe injuries based on time loss and reduction in sporting level
  1. Ralph Akoto1,2,3,
  2. Christophe Lambert1,2,
  3. Maurice Balke1,
  4. Bertil Bouillon3,
  5. Karl-Heinz Frosch2,
  6. Jürgen Höher1
  1. 1 Sports Clinic Cologne at Cologne Merheim Medical Center, Cologne, University of Witten/Herdecke, Cologne, Germany
  2. 2 Department of Trauma and Reconstructive Surgery with Division of Knee and Shoulder Surgery, Sports Traumatology, Asklepios Klinik Sankt Georg, Hamburg, Germany
  3. 3 Department of Trauma and Orthopedic Surgery, University of Witten/Herdecke, Cologne Merheim Medical Center, Cologne, Germany
  1. Correspondence to Dr Ralph Akoto, Department of Trauma and Reconstructive Surgery with Division of Knee and Shoulder Surgery, Sports Traumatology, Asklepios Clinic St. Georg, Hamburg D-20099, Germany; rakoto{at}


Background Sport injury severity can be detected by duration of time loss and reduction of sporting performance.

Aim To detect injury type-specific time loss duration and sporting performance reduction in judo.

Methods An online survey of active and former judo athletes was conducted (exclusion criterion: incomplete questionnaire). Only injuries causing more than 3 weeks’ time loss were recorded. Athletes classified themselves into performance classes. Injury type-specific frequencies were recorded according to gender, age and performance level. Injury severity was assessed by time loss duration and performance reduction.

Results The study included 4659 athletes (65% male, 38% competitive sports). The most commonly injured body regions were the upper extremity (41%) and the lower extremity (39%). Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) ruptures were the most severe injury type (time loss: 4% of cases 3–6 weeks, 6% 6–12 weeks, 26% 3–6 months, 32% 6–9 months, 18% 9–12 months, 14%>12 months; performance reduction: 32% same level, 39% slightly reduced, 24% strongly reduced, 5% stopped judo). The second most severe type of injury was a vertebral disc prolapse (time loss: 26% 3–6 weeks, 31% 6–12 weeks, 20% 3–6 months, 7% 6–9 months, 3% 9–12 months 13%>12 months; reduction of sporting performance: 39% same level, 34% slightly reduced, 20% strongly reduced, 8% stopped judo).

Conclusion Across genders and performance levels, ACL ruptures and vertebral disc prolapses were the most severe injuries with respect to time loss and sporting performance reduction.

  • Sport injuries
  • time loss
  • reduction sporting performance
  • judo

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  • Contributors RA, CL and JH designed the study. RA and JH directed its implementation and wrote the paper. CL performed the data collection. MB, KHF and BB helped to design the study’s analytic strategy. KHF and MB reviewed the paper. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

  • Funding The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

  • Funding The study was sponsored by the ARAG insurance company (Düsseldorf, Germany) and Verein zur Förderung der Forschung und Weiterbildung in der Sportraumatologie e.V. The study sponsors had no influence on the collection, analysis or interpretation of the data or on the decision to submit the work for publication.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Ethics approval Ethical committee of the Witten/Herdecke University (Application 96/213).

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.