Abstract of paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine, Salt Lake City, May 1990. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 22(2):S130 (1990)


E.D. Zemper and W. Pieter. Exercise Research Associates of Oregon, Eugene, OR, USA.

Little research on Korean taekwondo has been done, although it was a demonstration sport at the 1988 Olympic Games. This study is part of an ongoing multidisciplinary research project on elite taekwondo athletes supported by the US Olympic Committee and US Taekwondo Union. Data were collected at eight major competitions held in the USA. These eight tournaments involved a total of 5,682 competitors (4,318 males and 1,364 females). There were 4,139 Junior competitors aged 6 - 17 years old (3,274 males, 865 females) and 1,543 Senior competitors aged 18 and older (1,044 males, 499 females). Injury data were collected with simple check-off forms that described the athlete and nature, site, circumstances, and severity of the injury. The forms were completed by the authors or by medical staff covering the competition at the time treatment was sought for an injury by the competitors. Exposure data for calculating injury rates were gathered from records of bouts actually fought. There were a total of 5,566 bouts and with two competitors per bout, there were 11,132 athlete-exposures (A-E) to the possibility of being injured. These bouts totaled 52,575 minutes (876.25 hours) of exposure. There were 801 recorded injuries, 290 (36%) severe enough to cause time-loss of one day or more from further participation. Injuries were fairly equally divided between the head and the lower extremities, each accounting for about 40% of the injuries, with the remainder occurring in the upper extremities and the body. The predominant type of injury was contusions (45%), most of which were not severe enough to cause time-loss. Considering only time-loss injuries, the injury rates were 26.1/1,000 A-E (26.2 for males, 25.8 for females; 25.8 for Seniors, 26.2 for Juniors) or 0.63 injuries/100 minutes of exposure (0.66 for males, 0.57 for females; 0.50 for Seniors, 0.72 for Juniors). The most serious types of injuries were fractures, most often of the feet and hands, and cerebral concussions. The rate of fractures was 2.9/1,000 A-E (2.8 for males, 3.3 for females; 5.4 for Seniors, 1.7 for Juniors). The rate of fractures per 1,000 A-E is about the same as that seen in American college football games, while the rate of fractures per 1,000 minutes of competition (0.61/1,000 min) is 2.7 times that seen in American college football games (0.23/1,000 min). The rate of cerebral concussions was 5.2/1,000 A-E (5.6 for males, 4.0 for females; 5.1 for Seniors, 5.3 for Juniors). Based on number of exposures, the rate of concussions was 2.7 times the rate seen in American college football games. Based on time of exposure, the concussion rate for taekwondo (1.1/1,000 min) was 7.9 times that of American college football (0. 14/1,000 min).