An investigation of surf participation and injury prevalence in Australian surfers: a self-reported retrospective analysis
Meir, RA, Zhou, S, Rolfe, MI, Gilleard, WL & Coutts, RA 2012, 'An investigation of surf participation and injury prevalence in Australian surfers: a self-reported retrospective analysis', New Zealand Journal of Sports Medicine, vol. 39, no. 2, pp. 52-58.
Aim: To establish the prevalence and type of injuries sustained by Australian surfers in a 12 month period.
Study design: Injury history was collected via a self-reported online survey instrument.
Participants: 685 self-selected surfers living within Australia with a mean (±) age of 31.7 ± 12.9 (range = 12-67) years participated in this research.
Methods: This research involved a retrospective survey of surfers who completed an online survey that comprised of 44 major questions.
Results: Respondents to this survey reported spending on average of 8.3 (in winter) to 10.9 (in summer) hours per week in the water. 38.4% (272 of 685) of the respondents indicated that they had sustained an injury in the 12 months prior to completing the survey, which was severe enough to keep them out of the water while it healed. A number of these had sustained more than one injury with the total number of reported injuries being 389. The three most common locations of injury were the knee (n = 62, 15.9%); the ankle and foot (n = 58, 14.9%); and the torso (n = 54, 13.9%). 19.3% (118 of 685) of respondents sustained an injury that required them to attend hospital for assessment.
Conclusion: Participation in surfing may lead to injury with one in three surfers possibly experiencing an injury severe enough to keep them out of the water for varying periods of time in any 12 month period. It is speculated that some of these injuries are likely a product of the total time spent surfing, which may increase the stress on key anatomical structures.