Orthop J Sports Med. 2023 Aug 31;11(8):23259671231181582. doi: 10.1177/23259671231181582. eCollection 2023 Aug.
BACKGROUND: Underwater rugby (UWR) is a team sport. Athletes require a high degree of strength, endurance, speed, and coordination involving intense physical contact. Currently, a paucity of literature exists regarding injury occurrence in UWR.
PURPOSE: To examine the nature and prevalence of acute and overuse injuries in UWR.
STUDY DESIGN: Descriptive epidemiology study.
METHODS: Between November 2020 and March 2021, a total of 720 German UWR athletes were invited to take an online survey developed by orthopaedic specialists with UWR athletes. Data were recorded regarding general and health-related information, training habits, acute injuries that necessitated an interruption in training and/or doctor consultation, as well as overuse injuries. Overuse injuries were evaluated using the Oslo Sports Trauma Research Centre Overuse Injury Questionnaire. Statistical analyses included t tests or rank sum tests depending on normality of distribution. A nonparametric Kruskal-Wallis 1-way analysis of variance on ranks was used for nonnormally distributed data among several groups.
RESULTS: This study included 161 active athletes (mean ± SD, 36.1 ± 11.9 years old; 75.3% male) for analysis, of whom 90.1% were competing regularly. The performance-level distribution was as follows: first German national league (n = 73), second German national league (n = 46), state league (n = 17), district league (n = 1), and no league (n = 24). The mean ± SD sport-specific training workload was 5.6 ± 3.0 h/wk, including UWR training, additional swimming (n = 71; 44.1%), strength (n = 70; 43.5%), and/or endurance training (n = 102; 63.4%). Acute injuries were recorded in 78.9% of all athletes. The most typical locations for acute injuries were hand/finger (42.4%), head/face (concussion, ruptured eardrum; 18.1%), wrist (5.5%), or spine (5.0%). Overuse injuries were reported by 42.9% of the participants. The predominant locations for overuse injuries were hand/finger (18.8%), shoulder/clavicle (14.1%), spine and wrist (10.7% each), head/face (8.7%), and ankle joint and knee (6.7% each).
CONCLUSION: In the current study, 3 of 4 athletes reported at least 1 acute injury, and 2 of 5 athletes reported at least 1 overuse injury. Leading injury regions were the hand/finger, head/ear, wrist, and spine.