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7th EFSMA – European Congress of Sports Medicine, 3rd Central European Congress of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Annual Assembly of the German and the Austrian Society of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

Austrian Society of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

26.-29.10.2011, Salzburg, Austria

Injuries in synchronized skating

Meeting Abstract

  • corresponding author presenting/speaker Sanda Dubravcic-Simunjak - Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Clinical hospital Sveti Duh, Zagreb, Croatia
  • Harm Kuipers - Department of Movement Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Maastricht, Maastricht, Netherlands
  • Jane Moran - University of British Columbia Faculty of Medicine, Vancouver, BC, Emergency Medicine and Sport Medicine, Victoria, B.C., Canada
  • Boris Simunjak - ENT Department, Clinical hospital Sveti duh, Zagreb, Croatia
  • Marko Pecina - Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, School of Medicine University of Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia

7th EFSMA – European Congress of Sports Medicine, 3rd Central European Congress of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Salzburg, 26.-29.10.2011. Düsseldorf: German Medical Science GMS Publishing House; 2011. Doc11esm098

doi: 10.3205/11esm098, urn:nbn:de:0183-11esm0988

Published: October 24, 2011

© 2011 Dubravcic-Simunjak et al.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.



Objective: The International Skating Union (ISU) is governing the winter sports of figure skating, speed skating, short track speed skating and synchronized skating. In synchronized skating up to 16 skaters, mostly females, are skating together in unison, performing different formations on the ice. The main characteristic of the sport is synchronized work by skater’s legs, body, arms and head. Synchronized skating is a relatively new competitive sport and data about injuries in this discipline are lacking. Therefore the purpose of this study was to investigate the frequency and pattern of acute and overuse injuries in synchronized skaters.

Material/Methods: The questionnaire consisting of 22 questions was given to 23 participating teams, including 460 skaters, at World Synchronized skating championship held in Zagreb in April 2009.

The questionnaires inquired about the site and types of acute and overuse injuries that occurred during their synchronized skating career. In addition questions were asked about their current age, the age when they started to skate, as well as the age when they started to skate in synchronized skating. Major parts of the questionnaires inquired about the incidence of injuries with reference to on/off ice training, practicing team (i.e. block, line, intersection, etc.) or individual elements (i.e. jumps, spins, etc.) We also inquired about possible overuse syndromes that occurred during their previous figure skating and their synchronized skating career.

Results: A total of 451 ladies and 9 men senior skaters completed the questionnaires. 191 (42,4%) female and 4 (44.4%) male skaters had suffered from acute injuries during their synchronized skating career. As some skaters had suffered from more than one injury, the total number of acute injuries in females was 278 and in males 14. In female skaters 19,8% of acute injuries were head injuries, 7,1% trunk, 33,2% upper and 39,9% lower extremity injuries. In male skaters 14,3% were head injuries, 28,6% upper and 57,1% lower extremity injuries, with no report of trunk injuries. 109 female and 2 male skaters had low back problems and 72 female and 2 male skaters had one or more overuse syndromes during their skating career. Of 95 overuse injuries in female skaters, 65,3% occurred during their figure skating career, while 34,7% occurred when they skated in synchronized skating teams. In male skaters, out of 5 overuse injuries, 80% occurred in their figure skating career, while 20% occurred during their synchronized skating career. Out of the total of 292 injuries, 240 (82.2%) occurred during on ice practice, while 52 (17.8%) happened during off ice training. 78 (26,7%) acute injures occurred while practicing individual elements, and 214 (73,3%) on ice injuries occurred while practicing different team elements. 63.8% of all injuries in female skaters and 71.4% in male synchronized skaters occurred in the last 4 skating years.

Conclusion: In conclusion, we would like to stress that the current available data suggests that the number of injuries in synchronized skating is not so low. Data also show that the number of injuries has increased in the past 4 skating seasons, although it cannot be ruled out that the numbers have been biased by a better recall of recent injuries. Although it is tempting to suggest that the increase coincides with increased demands for more technically difficult elements performed by the synchronized skaters, this conclusion should be cautioned. Nevertheless, we strongly recommend that the medical community work closely with the coaches, skaters and technical committees in future development of synchronized skating.


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