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225 Wrestling injuries during the Tokyo 2020 olympic games
  1. Babak Shadgan1,3,
  2. Molnar Szabolcs1,
  3. Abaeva Elena1,
  4. Masujima Atsushi2
  1. 1UWW Medical, Prevention and Anti-Doping Commission, Corsier-sur-Vevey, Switzerland
  2. 2Teikyo Heisei University, Tokyo, Japan
  3. 3University of British Columbia, Department of Orthopaedics, Vancouver, Canada


Background Understanding the incidence and characteristics of injuries in each sport helps to implement more effective preventive measures. Studying this information after the occurrence of the COVID-19 pandemic was particularly important. Accordingly, the medical commission of the United World Wrestling (UWW) has implemented a systematic surveillance of injuries during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Objective To assess the injury profile of elite senior wrestlers in Men’s Greco-Roman (GR), Men’s Freestyle (FS), and Women’s wrestling (WW) during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Design Descriptive epidemiologic study.

Setting Clinical.

Participants 286 senior qualified wrestlers participated in Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Interventions UWW injury surveillance database system.

Main Outcome Measurements Athlete’s demographic, weight category, injury type, severity, location and mechanism.

Results A total of 286 athletes sustained 28 injuries during 322 matches; 9.8 injuries per 100 athletes (12.1% in men; 5.2% in women) and 8.7 injuries per 100 bouts. Among the 3 styles, WW had the lowest injury rate (5.2%) and FS showed the highest rate (12.8%). More injuries were observed in the low-weight categories (64.3%). The most common injury type was skin laceration and contusion (60.6%) due to direct contact and the most common site of injury was head and face (71.4%). In sum, 78.6% of all injuries were categorized as mild, 10.7% as moderate and 10.7% as severe.

Conclusions No serious or catastrophic injury was recorded during wrestling competitions of the Tokyo Olympic Games, and most injuries were minor. The overall rate of wrestling injuries during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games was higher than the 2016 Rio Games but lower than the 2012 London Olympic Games. The severity of injuries, however, was the lowest since the 2004 Athens Olympic Games. COVID-19 pandemic did not result in a higher rate of severe injuries, nor more overuse injuries.

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