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High risk of injury among World Cup Telemark athletes


A new study from the Oslo Sports Trauma Research in BJSM revealed that the risk of injury among the world's best telemark athletes is high compared to the other FIS disciplines alpine skiing, snowboarding, and freestyle.

While we through the annual injury registration in cooperation with the International Ski Federation (FIS) have built up quite good evidence on the risk of injury in alpine skiing, snowboarding, and freestyle, knowledge on injuries in World Cup (WC) telemark skiing is limited, Melissa Woll Johansen says. 

Melissa, master student at the Oslo Sports Trauma Research Center, and her team recently got published the first long-term study among the world's best telemark athletes, and their injury risk is high! 

Through 5 seasons, interviews were conducted with all WC telemark athletes (or coaches, if the athlete was not present) at the end of each winter season in the period 2008-2013.

All acute injuries during competition season with a need for supervision of medical personnel were recorded. Exposure, ie number runs during a season, were calculated manually for each athlete using result lists from the official database of FIS.

Every 4th practitioners with an injury per season, women especially vulnerable

A total of 149 acute injuries were recorded during 565 athlete seasons. The absolute injury incidence - new injuries during a season - was 26.4 injuries per 100 athletes per season.

Female telemark athletes had a 50% higher risk of injury than men.

Researchers recorded 69 injuries that took place during the FIS WC races, corresponding to a relative incidence of 8.2 injuries per 1000 runs.

- These numbers are in line with those we know from the best alpine, snowboard, and freestyle athletes, says Melissa Woll Johansen.

The risk of knee injuries three times as high for women as for men

The knee was the most frequent injury localization (21%), followed by hand-finger thumb (20%), ankle (13%), and shoulder / clavicle (13%).

The most frequently injured body part was the knee, often resulting in absence from sport for more of a 1 month. The risk of sustaining a knee injury was 3 times higher for female than for male athletes, Corresponding figures for shoulder/collar bone injuries were 2.5 in disfavor female athletes.

How does the telemark sport benefit?

Prevention should focus on knee injuries, serious injuries, especially with a focus on female athletes. One can also ask questions about whether or not women and men should compete in the same course.

Besides Melissa W Johansen, the research team consisted of Sophie Steesntrup, Tone Bere, Roald Bahr and Lars Nordsletten. 

Downlowed the paper published in BJSM.