Injuries in elite women's ski jumping: a cohort study following three International Ski Federation (FIS) World Cup seasons from 2017-2018 to 2019-2020

Br J Sports Med. 2022 Jan;56(1):35-40. doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2021-104198. Epub 2021 Dec 10.

Abstract

Objectives: To define incidence and injury patterns of International Ski Federation (FIS) World Cup (WC) women ski jumpers over three seasons.

Methods: Ski jump athletes competing in the Women's FIS WC were recruited for prospective injury surveillance from 2017-2018 to 2019-2020. Team representatives recruited the athletes annually and prospectively recorded all injuries requiring medical attention. Retrospective end-of-season interviews corroborated injury surveillance. Medical doctors collected and processed the data. The 4-month competitive season was used to calculate the annual incidence of injuries per 100 athletes per season. Injury type, location, severity and aetiology were reported.

Results: Athletes from 19 nations were enrolled equalling 205 athlete-seasons. Mean age was 21.2 years (SD=3.8). Thirty-nine injury events resulted in 54 total injuries (26.3 injuries/100 athletes/season). Injuries were mostly acute (83%) and occurred on the ski jump hill (78%). The most common injury location was the knee (n=18, 33%). Crash landings were the most common cause of injury events (70%). Nearly half of the acute ski jump injury events occurred in snowy, windy or cloudy conditions (44%) and/or during telemark landings (46%), and most jumps (96%) were shorter than hill size. One third of the injuries were severe, and 78% of severe injuries involved the knee.

Conclusion: Acute injury events occur relatively frequently in elite women ski jumpers, most resulting in time-loss from sport and a significant proportion involving serious knee injuries. Crash landing was the leading cause of injury. This baseline information can be used to guide and evaluate future efforts at injury prevention.

Keywords: athletic Injuries; knee injuries; skiing; sports medicine.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Athletic Injuries* / epidemiology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Prospective Studies
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Seasons
  • Skiing*
  • Young Adult