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Long-term athletic development in youth alpine ski racing : the effect of physical fitness, ski racing technique, anthropometrics and biological maturity status on injuries
AuthorMüller, Lisa ; Hildebrandt, Carolin ; Müller, Erich ; Fink, Christian ; Christian, Raschner
Published in
Frontiers in Physiology, Lausanne, 2017, Vol. 2017, page 1-11
PublishedFrontiers, 2017
Document typeJournal Article
Keywords (EN)injury risk factors / physical fitness / racing technique / biological maturity status / anthropometrics / youth alpine ski racing / neuromuscular training
URNurn:nbn:at:at-ubs:3-6800 Persistent Identifier (URN)
 The work is publicly available
Long-term athletic development in youth alpine ski racing [0.55 mb]
Abstract (English)

Alpine ski racing is known to be a sport with a high risk of injuries. Because most studies have focused mainly on top-level athletes and on traumatic injuries, limited research exists about injury risk factors among youth ski racers. The aim of this study was to determine the intrinsic risk factors (anthropometrics, biological maturity, physical fitness, racing technique) for injury among youth alpine ski racers. Study participants were 81 youth ski racers attending a ski boarding school (50 males, 31 females; 914 years). A prospective longitudinal cohort design was used to monitor sports-related risk factors over two seasons and traumatic (TI) and overuse injuries (OI). At the beginning of the study, anthropometric characteristics (body height, body weight, sitting height, body mass index); biological maturity [status age at peak height velocity (APHV)]; physical performance parameters related to jump coordination, maximal leg and core strength, explosive and reactive strength, balance and endurance; and ski racing technique were assessed. Z score transformations normalized the age groups. Multivariate binary logistic regression (dependent variable: injury yes/no) and multivariate linear regression analyses (dependent variable: injury severity in total days of absence from training) were calculated. T-tests and multivariate analyses of variance were used to reveal differences between injured and non-injured athletes and between injury severity groups. The level of significance was set to p < 0.05. Relatively low rates of injuries were reported for both traumatic (0.63 TI/athlete) and overuse injuries (0.21 OI/athlete). Athletes with higher body weight, body height, and sitting height; lower APHV values; better core flexion strength; smaller core flexion:extension strength ratio; shorter drop jump contact time; and higher drop jump reactive strength index were at a lower injury risk or more vulnerable for fewer days of absence from training. However, significant differences between injured and non-injured athletes were only observed with respect to the drop jump reactive strength index. Regular documentation of anthropometric characteristics, biological maturity and physical fitness parameters is crucial to help to prevent injury in youth ski racing. The present findings suggest that neuromuscular training should be incorporated into the training regimen of youth ski racers to prevent injuries.

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