Injuries in elite and recreational snowboarders

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BackgroundThe relatively young sport of snowboarding exhibits high injury rates. The current efforts to characterise the injury pattern of snowboarders focus largely on the general snowboard population and upper extremity injuries, the most common injury site in snowboarders as a whole.MethodsIn an effort to describe the current published information available on snowboarding injuries in the elite-level population, a literature search was performed and the articles related to snowboarding injuries were analysed. Additionally, the literature pertaining to biomechanical analyses of injury and injury prevention was included.ResultsStudies rarely stratify the snowboarders by skill level, a classification which has a profound effect on the riding activities of snowboarders and the resultant injury patterns. Elite-level snowboarders are often injured when performing difficult manoeuvres at high velocities and with amplified levels of force to the lower limbs. Consequently, elite-level snowboarders suffer from injuries that are of higher severity and have decidedly greater lower extremity injury rates. Conversely, injuries to the upper extremities are decreased in the elite snowboarders. Furthermore, little has been published regarding the biomechanical analyses and injury prevention for the protection of the lower extremities in snowboarding.ConclusionsSnowboarding continues to evolve as a sport. This includes a steady progression in the degree of difficulty of the manoeuvres conducted by athletes and an increase in the number of snowboarders attempting such manoeuvres. The injury patterns across the skill levels are markedly different, and it is imperative that the research directed towards understanding the disparate lower extremity injury pattern of elite-level snowboarders is increased.

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