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Sailors most often injure their knees -- on land

The knees are the body part that is injured the most by dinghy sailors. The injuries are primarily due to overstrain and most often occur during physical training. This was shown in a study at Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

"Studies have been made on the risk of injury for many sports, but not for dinghy sailing. With more knowledge, we can create recommendations that will prevent sailors from getting injured," says Lena Bymo-Having, who conducted the study at the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg.

During the study, researchers followed 42 sailors who were part of the Swedish national sailing team or who were students at one of the Swedish sailing academies. The results reveal that just over twenty percent of the injuries reported by the sailors during the study year were due to accidents or some other type of external force.

In four of five cases, the injury was due to overstrain. Overall, it was the knees that had the highest injury rate among sailors, but the study shows that the risk of injury is different between younger and older sailors.

"Younger sailors have more pain in their back and torso, while the sailors on the national team are somewhat older and often injure their shoulders," says Lena Bymo-Having.

The study shows that the sailors' injuries seldom occur during racing. Instead, it is during physical training that the risk of injury is highest.

A large majority of the sailors in the study had a sailing coach but just over one third have a personal trainer.

"Sailors need personal training programs that are customized for their needs. We can also draw the conclusion that different groups of sailors may need different types of training to prevent injury," says Lena Bymo-Having.

The article, "A prospective study on dinghy sailors' training habits and injury incidence with a comparison between elite sailor and club sailor during a 12-month period", was published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.


Contact: Lena Bøymo-Having
University of Gothenburg

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