Background: Over the past decade, there has been heightened interest in injury rates sustained by martial arts athletes, and more specifically, Taekwondo athletes. Despite this interest, there is a paucity of research on pre-competition habits and training of these athletes. The purpose of this pilot study was to assess training characteristics, competition preparation habits, and injury profiles of Taekwondo athletes.
Methods: A retrospective survey of Canadian male and female Taekwondo athletes competing in a national tournament was conducted. Competitors at a Canadian national level tournament were given a comprehensive survey prior to competition. Items on training characteristics, diet, and injuries sustained during training and competition were included. Questionnaires were distributed to 60 athletes.
Results: A response rate of 46.7% was achieved. Of those that responded, 54% dieted prior to competition, and 36% dieted and exercised pre-competition. Sixty-four percent of the athletes practised between 4-6 times per week, with 54% practicing 2 hours per session. Lower limb injuries were the most common (46.5%), followed by upper extremity (18%), back (10%), and head (3.6%). The majority of injuries consisted of sprains/strains (45%), followed by contusions, fractures, and concussions. More injuries occurred during training, including 59% of first injuries.
Conclusion: More research needs to be conducted to further illustrate the need for appropriate regulations on weight cycling and injury prevention.