Purpose: The aim of this study was to make a survey of injuries in young elite alpine skiers.
Methods: During 5 years, all students at the Swedish Ski High schools were prospectively followed regarding injuries, time of exposure, injury location, type of injury, injury severity and gender. Four hundred and thirty-one skiers, 215 males and 216 females completed the entire study.
Results: Of 431 skiers, 193 (91 males, 102 females) sustained 312 injuries during the 5-year study period. The injury incidence for males was 1.62 injuries/1,000 ski hours or 2.97 injuries/100 months at a Ski High school, and the corresponding values for females were 1.77 and 3.25, respectively. Forty-one percent of the injuries involved the knee, 69% were ligament injuries, and 49% were classified as severe injuries. Of 190 injured skiers, 120 injured their left leg (P = 0.0097). This was their first time injury. The risk of sustaining a re-injury or a new injury increased the sooner the first time injury occurred (P = 0.001).
Conclusion: There was a high risk for alpine ski students to sustain an injury during their education at the Swedish Ski High schools. Most injuries, especially ligament injuries, occurred in the knee joint in both males and females. Both genders were more likely to sustain injuries to the left than to the right leg. Nearly 50% of the injuries were classified as severe.
Level of evidence: II.