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Injuries and illnesses among competitive Norwegian rhythmic gymnasts during preseason: a prospective cohort study of prevalence, incidence and risk factors

Abstract

Objectives Rhythmic gymnastics is an Olympic sport that demands high training volume from early age. We investigated the extent of, and risk factors for, injuries among competitive Norwegian rhythmic gymnasts.

Methods One hundred and seven of 133 (80.5%) female rhythmic gymnasts (mean age: 14.5 years (SD 1.6), mean body mass index: 18.9 (SD 2.2)) participated. All gymnasts completed a baseline questionnaire and the ‘Triad-Specific Self-Report Questionnaire’. Injuries, illnesses and training hours were recorded prospectively for 15 weeks during preseason using the ‘Oslo Sports Trauma Research Center Questionnaire on Health Problems’ (OSTRC-H2).

Results Response rate to OSTRC-H2 was 97%. Mean overuse and acute injury prevalence were 37% (95% CI: 36% to 39%) and 5% (95% CI: 4% to 6%), respectively. Incidence was 4.2 overuse injuries (95% CI: 3.6 to 4.9) and 1.0 acute injuries (95% CI: 0.5 to 1.6) per gymnast per year. Overuse injuries in knees, lower back and hip/groin represented the greatest burdens. Previous injury increased the odds of injury (OR 30.38, (95% CI: 5.04 to 183.25)), while increased age (OR 0.61 per year, (95% CI: 0.39 to 0.97)) and presence of menarche (OR: 0.20, (95% CI: 0.06 to 0.71)) reduced the odds of all injuries and substantial injuries, respectively.

Conclusions Overuse injuries were common among Norwegian rhythmic gymnasts. Younger gymnasts had higher all-injury risk. Gymnasts who were not menstruating had higher substantial injury risk. Injury prevention interventions should start at an early age and focus on preventing knee, lower back and hip/groin injuries.

  • gymnastics
  • overuse injury
  • injuries
  • risk factor
  • female athlete triad

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