Competition Injuries in Young Judo Athletes

Gregory James, B.Sc. (Hons)
First Line Mobile, Swansea, Wales, United Kingdom

And

Willy Pieter, Ph.D.
School of Health, Biological and Environmental Sciences, Middlesex University, Enfield, Middlesex, London, United Kingdom and Institute of Sports Science, University of Asia and the Pacific, Pasig City, MM, Philippines

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to assess the injury profile of junior male and female judoka competing at the national level. Subjects consisted of 417 boys and 270 girls participating in the UK National Individual Judo Championships in 1996. Simple check-off forms were used to collect the injury data, including injury type, location, and mechanism. Non-parametric statistical procedures were used to determine the differences in injury rates between boys and girls as well as between body region within gender. The girls (52.1/1,000 athlete-exposures) sustained more injuries than the boys (39.8/1,000 athlete-exposures) (p = 0.047). The boys incurred most injuries to the head and neck region (16.2/1,000 athlete-exposures) and the girls to the upper extremities (19.7/1,000 athlete-exposures). The most common injury type in the boys was the strain (9.6/1,000 athlete-exposures) and in the girls, the contusion (18.5/1,000 athlete-exposures). The major injury mechanism in the boys was receiving a throw (13.3/1,000 athlete-exposures) and in the girls, groundwork (12.7/1,000 athlete-exposures). Total injury rates in this sample are among the lowest in junior combative sports athletes.

Introduction

Prospective studies on injuries in judoka are scarce, especially those involving young practitioners. Most of the available research pertains to adult judoka. The largest prospective study conducted to date, which included young judoka, is more than 15 years old (Barrault et al., 1983). However, no separate injury rates were provided by age group.

Our research team investigated injuries in young (< 17 years) and adult judo athletes competing at a local tournament and found the girls (104.9 injuries per 1,000 athlete-exposures) to sustain more injuries than the boys (77.2 injuries per 1,000 athlete-exposures; p < 0.05) (Pieter and De Crée, 1997). One athlete-exposure refers to one individual participating in a bout where he/she is exposed to the possibility of being injured. In view of the scarcity of information on young judoka, the purpose of this study was to assess the injury profile in junior judo athletes competing in a national tournament.

Methods

Subjects competed in the Junior National Individual Judo Championships at Crystal Palace, London, United Kingdom in 1996. There were a total of 417 boys and 270 girls.

Injury data were collected with simple check-off forms by the research team in consultation with the medical personnel, the player and/or coach. In all cases, the tournament physician was the one, who made the diagnosis.

Exposure data for calculating injury rates were gathered from records of bouts actually fought. Injury rates were calculated from matches fought using the basic rate formula: (# injuries / # athlete-exposures) x 1,000 = # injuries per 1,000 athlete-exposures (A-E).

To determine the differences in injury rate between boys and girls and between body regions within gender, the Kolmogorov-Smirnov test for two samples was used. All analyses were performed with a = 0.05.

Results

Table 1 shows the information pertinent to the total injury rates in junior male and female judoka. The girls sustained more injuries than the boys did (p = 0.047).

Tables 2 - 5 display the distribution of injury rates by body region, injury type, situation and mechanism, respectively. No differences were found in injury rates between body regions within each gender, although the trunk sustained the least injuries in both boys and girls. Table 6 depicts comparative total injury rates gleaned from prospective studies carried out by our team. All athletes included in the table are 17 years or younger.

Table 1: Competition injury rates for junior male and female judoka

Boys

Girls

# Athletes

417

270

# athlete-exposures (A-E)

1,358

864

# injuries

54

45

Injury Rate:

per 100 athletes

13.0

16.7

per 1,000 A-E

39.8

52.1

Table 2: Distribution of injury rates by body region in junior male and female judoka per 1,000 athlete-exposures

Boys

Girls

Body Region

Number

Rate

Number

Rate

Head/Neck

22

16.2

12

13.9

Head

5

3.7

6

6.9

Face

1

0.7

2

2.3

Nose

7

5.2

3

3.5

Mouth

5

3.7

1

1.2

Ear

2

1.5

Neck

2

1.5

Upper Extremities

20

14.7

17

19.7

Clavicle

1

1.5

Shoulder

7

5.2

2

2.3

Upper arm

1

0.7

Elbow

4

2.9

6

6.9

Forearm

1

1.2

Wrist

1

0.7

3

3.5

Hand

1

0.7

Thumb

3

2.2

3

3.5

Fingers

2

1.5

2

2.3

Trunk

4

2.9

4

4.6

Back

1

0.7

1

1.2

Ribs

2

1.5

Chest

2

2.3

Sternum

1

1.2

Groin

1

0.7

Lower Extremities

8

5.9

12

13.9

Upper leg

1

1.2

Hamstrings

1

1.2

Knee

6

4.4

3

3.5

Ankle

5

5.8

Foot

1

0.7

Toes

1

0.7

2

2.3

Total

54

39.8

45

52.1

Table 3: Distribution of injury rates by type of injury in junior male and female judoka per 1,000 athlete-exposures

Boys

Girls

Injury type

Number

Rate

Number

Rate

Abrasion

5

3.7

2

2.3

Cartilage tear

1

0.7

Concussion

3

2.2

3

3.5

Contusion

7

5.2

16

18.5

Dislocation

1

0.7

1

1.2

Fracture

1

0.7

Hemorrhage

2

1.5

1

1.2

Hyperextension

3

2.2

4

4.6

Inversion injury

1

1.2

Laceration

7

5.2

1

1.2

Ligament tear

3

2.2

3

3.5

Nerve injury

1

0.7

Other

3

2.2

2

2.3

Sprain

3

2.2

5

5.8

Strain

13

9.6

6

6.9

Stress fracture

1

0.7

Total

54

39.8

45

52.1

Conclusions

Although more research will be needed, this study seems to suggest that the injury rates in young judoka are among the lowest compared to those reported for counterparts in other combative sports. However, sport-specific characteristics and the level of competition need to be taken into account as well before more definitive conclusions may be drawn.

The head and neck in the boys and the upper extremities in the girls were the most often injured body regions. Future research should be carried out to shed more light on the relationship between judo competition and head and neck injuries.

Receiving a throw and groundwork are the main injury mechanisms in boys and girls, respectively. Improved tactical awareness may be among the options to be considered from a preventative point of view. Educating coaches and athletes alike regarding injuries and their prevention should be part of any coaching certification program.

Table 4: Distribution of injury rates per 1,000 athlete-exposures by situation in junior male and female judoka

Boys

Girls

Situation

#

Rate

Situation

#

Rate

Being thrown

15

11.0

Being thrown

15

17.4

- shoulder throw

2

1.5

- hip spring

1

1.2

- body drop

2

1.5

- body drop

2

2.3

- one-handed shoulder throw

1

0.7

- inner thigh reaping throw

1

1.2

- large outward reap

2

1.5

- shoulder throw

3

3.5

- valley drop

1

0.7

- hip throw

4

4.6

- circular throw

1

0.7

- drop shoulder throw

2

2.3

- hand wheel

1

0.7

- hip sweep

1

1.2

- inner thigh reaping throw

1

0.7

- small inner reap

1

1.2

- hip throw

1

0.7

- unknown

3

2.2

Performing throw

18

13.3

Performing throw

12

13.9

- one-handed shoulder throw

1

0.7

- inner-wrap-around- throw

1

1.2

- hand wheel

2

1.5

- springing-hip-wrap-around-throw

2

2.3

- shoulder throw

1

0.7

- large hip throw

1

1.2

- two-handed shoulder throw

2

1.5

- body drop

2

2.3

- body drop

1

0.7

- hip sweep

2

2.3

- valley drop

1

0.7

- inner thigh reaping throw

1

1.2

- drop shoulder throw

1

0.7

- shoulder throw

1

1.2

- large inner reap

1

0.7

- hip throw

1

1.2

- hip sweep

1

0.7

- valley drop

1

1.2

- hip throw

3

2.2

Arm locks

2

1.5

Arm locks

2

2.3

- cross arm lock

1

0.7

- cross arm lock

1

1.2

- unknown

1

0.7

- unknown

1

1.2

Counter throw

2

1.5

Groundwork

12

8.8

Groundwork

11

12.7

- scarf hold

2

1.5

- scarf hold

2

2.3

- unknown

10

7.4

- unknown

9

10.4

Fall

3

2.2

Fall

2

2.3

Grip fighting

2

1.5

Grip fighting

1

1.2

Other

4

3.0

Other

2

2.3

Total

54

39.8

Total

45

52.1

Table 5: Distribution of injury rates per 1,000 athlete-exposures by mechanism in junior male and female judoka

Boys

Girls

Mechanism

#

Rate

#

Rate

Receiving throw

18

13.3

6

6.9

- valley drop

1

0.7

- large outward reap

2

1.5

- body drop

1

0.7

- one-handed shoulder throw

1

0.7

- inner thigh reaping throw

2

1.5

- hip throw

1

0.7

2

2.3

- shoulder throw

1

0.7

- hand wheel

1

0.7

- circular throw

1

0.7

- hip sweep

1

1.2

- small inner reap

1

1.2

- hip spring

1

1.2

- drop shoulder throw

1

1.2

- unknown

7

5.1

Performing throw

9

6.6

9

10.4

- two-handed shoulder throw

1

0.7

- one-handed shoulder throw

2

1.5

- hand wheel

1

0.7

- hip throw

1

0.7

1

1.2

- drop shoulder throw

1

0.7

- large inner reap

1

0.7

- valley drop

1

0.7

- body drop

1

0.7

3

3.5

- large hip throw

1

1.2

- inner-wrap-around-throw

1

1.2

- springing-hip-wrap-around-throw

1

1.2

- hip sweep

1

2.3

- shoulder throw

1

1.2

Groundwork

12

8.8

11

12.7

Other

2

1.5

Delayed referee action

1

0.7

Impact with surface

4

2.9

10

11.6

No contact

1

0.7

3

3.5

Simultaneous throws

1

0.7

3

3.5

Grip fighting

2

1.5

2

2.3

Delayed athlete action

4

2.9

1

1.2

Total

54

39.8

45

52.1

Table 6: Comparative injury rates in junior judoka and other combative sports athletes

Injury rates

Sport/Study

Per 100 athletes

Per 1,000 A-E*

Judo boys (this study)

13.0

39.8

Judo boys (Pieter & De Crée, 1997)

22.5

77.2

Taekwondo boys (Pieter & Zemper, 1997)

10.6

58.3

Karate boys (Pieter, 1997)

34.9

99.7

Judo girls (this study)

16.7

52.1

Judo girls (Pieter & De Crée, 1997)

28.3

104.9

Taekwondo girls (Pieter & Zemper, 1997)

9.5

56.6

Karate girls (Pieter, 1997)

38.1

115.1

*A-E: athlete-exposures

Acknowledgments

Our gratitude is extended to Sarah Gordon, Colin Talbot, Karl Moloney, James Geering, Luigi T. Bercades, and Debra Collins for their help in data collection. Our deepest appreciation goes out to Mr. Marshal Tiller of the British Judo Association, who was the tournament director, and who also provided the exposure data necessary to calculate the injury rates. We are extremely grateful to Dr. Helen James, who was the tournament physician, and her medical team.

Bibliography

Barrault, D., Achou, B. and Sorel, R. (1983), Accidents et incidents survenus au cours des compétitions de judo, Symbioses, XV, 3: 144 - 152.

Pieter, W. (1997), Competition injuries in young karate athletes, presented at the British Association of Sport and Medicine Annual Congress 1997, Brighton, United Kingdom, November 6 - 9.

Pieter, W. and De Crée, C. (1997), Competition injuries in young and adult judo athletes, poster presentation at The Second Annual Congress of the European College of Sport Science, Copenhagen, Denmark, August, 20 - 23.

Pieter, W. and Zemper, E. D. (1997), Injury rates in children participating in taekwondo competition, The Journal of Trauma, 43, 1: 89 - 95.