by Dr. Stanislaw Sterkowicz
Head of Department of Combat Sports at Academy of Physical Education in Krakow, Poland


While training judo close contact between competitors is obvious. They use different techniques of throws, holds, levers and suffocations. Every fight begins in upright position and throws which cause falls lead to win. So children and youth must learn the techniques of soft falls or turnovers what is developed during continuous training. Youth usually use techniques of bending forward or to the right in Kuzushi (Sterkowicz 1987). Techniques of holds, levers and suffocations specific for judo are rarely used.

A surprise attack on the opponent may cause injuries of the attacked competitors body. Most of the injuries take place during throws and falls (Fibak 1973, Forrisier 1975, Hapek 1966). Up to now dependencies among age, intensity and kind of injuries have not been explained yet. This paper deals with analysis of circumstances and reasons of body injuries according to age.


Retrospective researches comprised 66% of people training judo in 22 chosen cities in Poland. There were 6468 subjects of varied age. On the basis of the data obtained from the Polish National Insurance (PZU) in four years (1977-1980) about 547 accidents and 563 injuries took place.. These people could not continue work or learning for about 1 till 2 months. within the group of children and youth 10-17 years old (group M) 306 accidents took place, within the group of grown-ups (group D) 241. For showing intensity of accidents the method of data junction was used; the same as in epidemiology (MacMahon 1974). The factor of accident frequency (A.F.) programmed by Reginato (1980) was used. It shows the amount of injuries for 100 training persons in half of period of time. The danger index A.F. was counted for the groups of ages and in general.

To verify connection between age and characteristic features of people and accidents, special coefficient C- by Pearson was counted.

Results and Discussion

On the base of researches it can be stated that there is a dependence between intensity of accidents and age of people. The general danger index A.F. for four years was 8.5% (after counting it for 1 year it was similar to data from French Mutuelle Nationale des Sports (Chevaleraud 1978).

During researches within the group of youth (M) there were 5.7% accidents. within the group D – 22.5. Risk in group M was 4 times less than in group D. Within the group D injured competitors represented higher level of judo knowledge than in group M. The number of accidents concerning the same competitors was 3 times higher in group D than in M. Among 213 injuries of upper limbs the most frequent were broken bones and put out joints. Among 134 injuries of legs, putting out joints dominated. Within head injuries auricles were mainly bruised. Overstrained stages were situated mainly in lumbar-sacral part of spine. Forrisier (1975) during researching in France in general obtained similar results.

Percentage of upper limbs and of scapular arch injuries was the highest within the groups 10-13 and 14-15 years of age. It decreased in groups of older competitors. Quite the opposite situation was in injuries concerning legs, head and trunk.

Comparing location of injuries among 18 disciplines of sport (Fibak 1973) it can be stated that injuries of scapular arch characteristic for judo were twice as frequent and injuries in head were 4 times less frequent; comparing to karate even 8 times (11). Above a half of injuries were broken bones and put out joints (Marker 1968). Broken bones were more frequent in young competitors’ groups, put out joint in grown-ups.

Typical injuries like broken clavicle and broken forearms showed negative connections with age. Positive correlation was between age and putting out of joints of knees or elbow and clavicle-shoulder joint sprain.

There is also a correlation between age and kind of mechanical injury or cause. Direct blow during throws dominated within 10-13, 14-15 and 18-19 years of age categories, pressing down or fall on an opponent in 16-17 and above 20 years of age categories. Wrong lean caused injuries in the 16-17 and 18-19 years of age groups. within the grown-up category most of injuries were caused be excessive friction and sudden resistance of opponent. Injuries caused by using levers, for the first time were noticed at 15 years old judoists who took part in competition. Described dependencies were statistically verified. the closest connection between age and kind of injuries and repeatability concerning the same persons was easy to be noticed. Injuries and their location also depend upon age (table 1).

Age category Kind and localization of injuries (in %)
10-13 years
1.Fracture of the clavicle
2.Fracture of forearm bones
3.Fracture of the humeral bone
4.Fracture of digital bones in the foot
5.Fracture of digital bones in the hand
Young adolescents
1.Fracture of the clavicle
2.Fracture of forearm bones
3.Fracture of the humeral bone
4.Fracture of digital bones in the foot
5.Fracture of digital bones in the hand
Young juniors
1.Fracture of the clavicle
2.Fracture of forearm bones
3.Distortion of knee joint
4.Fracture of the humeral bone
5.Dislocation of ulnar joint
18-19 years
1.Distortion of knee joint
2.Fracture of the clavicle
3.Distortion of acromioclavicular joint
4.Dislocation of ulnar joint
5.Dislocation of shoulder joint
20 and more
1.Distortion of knee joint
2.Distortion of acromioclavicular joint
3.Dislocation of ulnar joint
4.Dislocation of ankle joint
5.Dislocation of shoulder joint

Comparing to my early research (Sterkowicz 1987) with the data from the table it can be stated their is a closer connection between the kind and the mechanism of the injury. However, the same mechanism may cause different injuries depending on the age.


It has been found that risk of accidents was higher among grown-up competitors than among adolescents. There was a close relationship between the age and the sports level and the age of the injured competitors as well as between the age and the recurrence of the accidents in the same persons.

The relationship between the age and the mechanism and kind of injury has been evaluated and typical injuries in 5 age categories have been rated.

The results of the research show the need of taking into consideration the age factor in the system of injury prevention.


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  • Sterkowicz S. 1986. Accidents and Bodily injuries in Karate. Scientific Yearbook of Academy of Physical Education in Cracow, Vol.21, p.205 (In Polish).

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