Epidemiology of Competition Injuries in Elite European Judo Athletes: A Prospective Cohort Study

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To determine the injury incidence rate (IIR) and injury pattern, and to identify risk factors for injury, among elite adult European judo athletes.


Prospective cohort study.


The 2015 Under 23 European Judo Championships, Bratislava, Slovakia.


All registered athletes (N = 295).

Independent Variables:

Sex, weight division, and fight outcome.

Main Outcome Measures:

Injury incidence rates were calculated per 1000 athlete-exposures (IIRAE) and per 1000 minutes of exposure (IIRME) with 95% confidence intervals (CI). Subgroups were compared by calculating the injury incidence rate ratio (RR) with a 95% CI.


The overall IIRAE and IIRME were 35.6 (95% CI, 22.8-53.0) and 10.9 (95% CI, 7.0-16.2), respectively. The most frequently injured anatomical region was the head/neck (41%), whereas the most common type of injury was contusion (33%). The risk of injury was almost 4 times greater for defeated athletes compared with winners [RRME 3.80 (95% CI, 1.47-9.82)]. Athletes in middleweight divisions had a greater risk of injury compared with their lightweight [RRME 3.58 (95% CI, 1.24-10.35)] and heavyweight [RRME 2.34 (95% CI, 0.93-5.89)] counterparts. The risk of injury for women was not significantly different from their male counterparts [RRME 1.33 (95% CI, 0.61-2.90)].


Weight division (middle) and fight outcome (losing) are significant risk factors for injury. The IIR in elite adult judo competition is lower than that in taekwondo and karate. Future research is encouraged to investigate the actual severity of judo injuries, and to investigate potentially modifiable risk factors to mitigate the risk of injury in judo.

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