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ORIGINAL ARTICLE  SPORT INJURIES AND REHABILITATION 

The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2021 May;61(5):707-11

DOI: 10.23736/S0022-4707.20.11379-3

Copyright © 2020 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

Epidemiology of injuries in water board sports: trauma versus overuse injury

Giacomo FARÌ 1 , Angela NOTARNICOLA 2, Stefano DI PAOLO 3, Ilaria COVELLI 2, Biagio MORETTI 2

1 Section of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Department of Basic Medical Sciences, Neuroscience and Sensory Organs, University of Bari, Bari, Italy; 2 Section of Orthopedics, Department of Basic Medical Sciences, Neuroscience and Sensory Organs, University of Bari, Bari, Italy; 3 Department of Biomedical and Neuromotor Sciences, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy



BACKGROUND: Surfing is an increasingly popular sport in the world, but it is not sufficiently investigated in terms of epidemiology of injuries and possible prevention strategies. Moreover, there are different surfing disciplines, with specific characteristics and therefore different potential risks of injury. The aim of this study was to look at the injuries of recreational surfers in an Italian cohort, distinguishing between trauma and overuse lesions and putting in evidence any difference between specific water board sports.
METHODS: The design is that of a retrospective observational study. An online survey was distributed to a group of Italian surfers that are members of a surfing association. The survey comprised: demographic data, surfing information such as number of sessions per year and years of experience, and surfing injuries story. The sample size consisted of 126 recreational surfers who practiced four different types of surfing: surf, kitesurf, windsurf and stand-up paddle.
RESULTS: The incidence of trauma was significantly higher than the incidence of overuse lesions in all four water board sports evaluated (e.g. in surf, 81% for trauma vs. 27% for overuse, with a difference of 55% , P<0.0001). There was a statistically significant effect of the number of surfing sessions per year both for trauma (W=6.36, P=0.0117) and for total injuries (trauma + overuse; W=4.30, P=0.0381), with a 12-times increased risk for the surfers who performed more than 80 sessions per year. The risk of overuse injuries was higher for those who practice surf for more than seven years (P=0.0193).
CONCLUSIONS: Traumas are more frequent than overuse injuries for all the investigated surfing disciplines. The risk of injury increases as the number of annual sessions and the years of practice increase, demonstrating that experience is not a protective factor, whereas higher exposure is certainly a risk factor. New injury prevention strategies should be based on athletic training and preparation programs, traditionally lacking among recreational surfers.


KEY WORDS: Athletic injuries; Water sports; Epidemiology

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