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Int J Sports Med. 2011 Oct;32(10):794-800. doi: 10.1055/s-0031-1279723. Epub 2011 Sep 12.

Injury risk evaluation in sport climbing.

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Department of Trauma Surgery, Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Erlangen, Germany.


The aim of this study was to quantify and rate acute sport climbing injuries. Acute sport climbing injuries occurring from 2002 to 2006 were retrospectively assessed with a standardized web based questionnaire. A total number of 1962 climbers reported 699 injuries, which is equivalent to 0.2 injuries per 1 000 h of sport participation. Most (74.4%) of the injuries were of minor severity rated NACA I or NACA II. Injury distribution between the upper (42.6%) and lower extremities (41.3%) was similar, with ligament injuries, contusions and fractures being the most common injury types. Years of climbing experience (p<0.01), difficulty level (p<0.01), climbing time per week during summer (p<0.01) and winter (p<0.01) months were correlated with the injury rate. Age (p<0.05 (p=0.034)), years of climbing experience (p<0.01) and average climbing level (p<0.01) were correlated to the injury severity rated through NACA scores. The risk of acute injuries per 1 000 h of sport participation in sport climbing was lower than in previous studies on general rock climbing and higher than in studies on indoor climbing. In order to perform inter-study comparisons of future studies on climbing injuries, the use of a systematic and standardized scoring system (UIAA score) is essential.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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