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Injuries in elite women’s ski jumping: a cohort study following three International Ski Federation (FIS) World Cup seasons from 2017–2018 to 2019–2020

Abstract

Objectives To define incidence and injury patterns of International Ski Federation (FIS) World Cup (WC) women ski jumpers over three seasons.

Methods Ski jump athletes competing in the Women’s FIS WC were recruited for prospective injury surveillance from 2017–2018 to 2019–2020. Team representatives recruited the athletes annually and prospectively recorded all injuries requiring medical attention. Retrospective end-of-season interviews corroborated injury surveillance. Medical doctors collected and processed the data. The 4-month competitive season was used to calculate the annual incidence of injuries per 100 athletes per season. Injury type, location, severity and aetiology were reported.

Results Athletes from 19 nations were enrolled equalling 205 athlete-seasons. Mean age was 21.2 years (SD=3.8). Thirty-nine injury events resulted in 54 total injuries (26.3 injuries/100 athletes/season). Injuries were mostly acute (83%) and occurred on the ski jump hill (78%). The most common injury location was the knee (n=18, 33%). Crash landings were the most common cause of injury events (70%). Nearly half of the acute ski jump injury events occurred in snowy, windy or cloudy conditions (44%) and/or during telemark landings (46%), and most jumps (96%) were shorter than hill size. One third of the injuries were severe, and 78% of severe injuries involved the knee.

Conclusion Acute injury events occur relatively frequently in elite women ski jumpers, most resulting in time-loss from sport and a significant proportion involving serious knee injuries. Crash landing was the leading cause of injury. This baseline information can be used to guide and evaluate future efforts at injury prevention.

  • athletic Injuries
  • knee injuries
  • sports medicine
  • skiing

Data availability statement

Data are available on reasonable request. All data are anonymised and not available for other groups.

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