Injuries in Competitive Dragon Boating

Orthop J Sports Med. 2014 Nov 6;2(11):2325967114554550. doi: 10.1177/2325967114554550. eCollection 2014 Nov.


Background: Dragon boating is a fast-growing team water sport and involves forceful repetitive motions that predispose athletes to overuse injuries. Despite the rising popularity of the sport, there is a lack of studies on injury epidemiology in dragon boating.

Purpose: To investigate the injury epidemiology in competitive dragon boating athletes.

Study design: Descriptive epidemiological study.

Methods: A total of 95 dragon boaters (49 males, 46 females) representing their respective universities took part in this study. Data were collected retrospectively using a reliable and valid self-report questionnaire. The study period was from August 2012 to July 2013.

Results: A total of 104 musculoskeletal injuries were reported (3.82 injuries/1000 athlete-exposures), 99% of which occurred during training. The most commonly injured regions were the lower back (22.1%), shoulder (21.1%), and wrist (17.3%). The majority of injuries were due to overuse (56.3%), and incomplete muscle-tendon strain was the most prevalent type of injury (50.5%). The time loss from injuries varied. In addition, a significant majority of the dragon boating athletes incurred nonmusculoskeletal injuries, with abrasions (90.5%), blisters (78.9%), and sunburns (72.6%) being the most common.

Conclusion: Competitive dragon boating has a moderately high injury incidence, and there seems to be a direct relationship between exposure time and injury rate. A majority of the injuries are overuse in nature, and the body parts most actively involved in paddling movement are at higher risk of injuries. The high incidence of nonmusculoskeletal injuries in dragon boaters suggested that these injuries are likely outcomes of participation in the sport.

Keywords: competitive dragon boating; epidemiology; injuries; musculoskeletal; nonmusculoskeletal.