Injury risk evaluation in sport climbing

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


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.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Athletic Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Athletic Injuries / etiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Injury Severity Score
  • Lower Extremity / injuries*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mountaineering / injuries*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time Factors
  • Upper Extremity / injuries*
  • Young Adult