Injuries in elite Korean fencers: an epidemiological study

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Abstract

Purpose

We aimed to assess the risk of injury associated with training activities in a population of elite Korean fencers training for the Olympic games.

Methods

We analysed the incidence of sports injuries, based on data prospectively collected over an 8-year period (January 2008 to December 2015) at the National Training Center in Seoul, Korea. The population of elite fencing athletes was stratified according to fencing category (sabre, epee and foil), sex, injury location (body region and site) and injury severity (mild or level I injury, requiring treatment for 1–3 days; moderate or level II injury, requiring treatment for 4–7 days; and severe or level III injury, requiring treatment for ≥8 days).

Results

A total of 1176 injuries were recorded during the study period, with an average of 3.3 injuries per athlete annually. Of these, over half (52.6%) were mild injuries, with most injuries occurring in the lower extremity (47.2%), followed by injuries to the upper extremity (26.4%), trunk (21.4%), and head and neck area (5.0%). For all weapon categories, there was a significant difference between male and female athletes in terms of injury location and severity (p≤0.005).

Conclusions

We hope that our data describing injury location and severity according to weapon category and sex can help one understand the circumstances that lead to injuries in elite Korean fencers and can be used in the development of programmes to reduce the incidence of sports injuries and enhance athletic performance.

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