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Injuries to kiteboarding

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Summary of the article "a prospective study of kitesurfing injuries" by Christopher Nickel, The American Journal of Sports Medcine, vol.32, No. 4

Kitesurfing is a water sport more popular. Kitesurfer uses a board, or surfing, towed by a wing or kite, an area of ??9-16 square meters, controlled by a rod connected to the wing by four lines. To help recover the kite in case of loss of control, the kitesurfer is connected to a line of the wing with a "kiteleash" and to the board by a "boardleash". The kitesurfer is attached to the board via foot straps, it can reach speeds of thirty to forty knots, he makes tricks and jumps.

The authors conducted a study on a six-month kitesurfing season including 235 athletes with an average age of 27.2 years. The purpose of the study is the evaluation of trauma and the recommendation of preventive measures. The number of recorded injuries in this period is 124, 7 injuries per 1,000 hours of practice (2.5 times when racing and training). They are divided as follows: a fatal accident by poly-trauma, 3% severe lesions (more than six weeks of sport disability), 19% of medium severity of lesions (more than a day of sports disability) and 77% of benign lesions (possible continuation sport). The most common sites are the ankle and foot (28%), skull (14%), chest (13%) and knee (13%). I find many contusions (33%) mainly by spraying against an obstacle or back surfing the elastic leash.

26% of injuries are attributed to an inability to drop the kite in a loss of control. Athletes who use a "fast width" of their wing (18%) suffer less trauma than those who do not use them. Half of the injuries of the ankles, knees and feet are at jumping reception at a distance less than 50 meters from the beach or on the beach. Only 7% of athletes use headphones, none use of head protection.

The authors conclude that kiteboarding is a high-risk sport with seven injuries per 1,000 hours of practice against 4.66 in contact sports. However, severe trauma are more common in this study than in the practice of handball or football.

In summary, when kiteboarding, we note some preventive measures: proper assembly lines, good technical training, a practice in reserved areas, with a height sufficient water and a good distance from the beach, wearing a helmet especially when using a "boardleash" and the use of a fast width.

Doctor Yves GUGLIELMETTI. - 11 juin 2010.

Conflicts of interest: the author or authors have no conflicts of interest concerning the data published in this article.


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