Objective: The performing arts style of cirque has grown in popularity, with high-school participants increasingly practicing this style. Still, little research has examined the injury reporting rates and patterns in this population. Our study aimed to compare injury reporting rates and injury concealment patterns between high-school cirque performers and a peer-group of basketball players.
Methods: Fifty participants (30 cirque, 20 basketball) completed a 12-item injury history and concealment instrument with chi-squared analyses and Fisher's exact tests comparing groups (p = 0.05).
Results: While no group differences (p = 0.36) existed in injuries reported, basketball players were more likely (p = 0.01) to miss participation due to injury than cirque performers. No significant difference existed between participants regarding which healthcare provider they reported to first (p = 0.27), but basketball players reported their injuries to the athletic trainer at higher rates (50%) than cirque performers (20%). A nonsignificant trend (p = 0.08) was noted in promptness to report injury, with more cirque performers (13%) concealing their injuries than basketball players (5%). Several reasons were noted for concealment of injury, with the most common being the belief that the injury would "go away" on its own. Knee injuries were most common in basketball players (23.7%) and back and knee injuries (10.5% each) in cirque performers.
Conclusions: Despite similar injury rates, cirque participants concealed injuries more than peer-basketball players. Reasons may include losing performance roles, unfamiliarity and low trust with healthcare providers, ignorance about initially minor-looking injuries, and higher pain tolerance thresholds. Education and communication are essential to allow performing artists to seek healthcare support. Research is needed to appropriately understand and meet the needs of this underserved performing artist population.