Injuries to Professional and Amateur Kickboxing Contestants: A 15-Year Retrospective Cohort Study

Reidar P. Lystad*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)
43 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Kickboxing is a group of full-contact combat sports that allows both kicking and punching from a standing position. Despite its popularity, there is a scarcity of published data elucidating the injury epidemiology in kickboxing. Purpose: To determine the injury incidence, describe the injury pattern, and identify potential risk factors for injury in kickboxing. Study Design: Descriptive epidemiology study. Methods: Data describing fight outcomes and injuries sustained during professional and amateur kickboxing contests over a 15-year period were obtained from the official records of the Nevada Athletic Commission, United States. Injury incidence rates and rate ratios were calculated with 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs) per 1000 athlete-exposures (AEs) and per 1000 minutes of exposure. The injury pattern was described using frequencies and proportions of injuries by anatomic region and type of injury. In addition, Poisson mixed-effects generalized linear modeling was used to examine the multivariate relationships between injury incidence rates and potential risk factors. Results: The sample consisted of 481 unique fighters competing across 57 events, 976 AEs, 9562 minutes of exposure, and 380 injuries. The mean ± SD age of the fighters was 29.0 ± 5.3 years (range, 15-48 years). The overall injury incidence rates were 390.1 injuries (95% CI, 351.9-431.4) per 1000 AEs and 39.7 injuries (95% CI, 35.8-43.9) per 1000 minutes of exposure. The most commonly injured anatomic regions were the head (57.8%) and lower extremity (26.1%), while the most common types of injury were laceration (70.6%) and fracture (20.6%). Professional fighters were 2.5 times more likely to get injured compared with amateurs (rate ratio, 2.51; 95% CI, 1.39-4.55), while defeated fighters were 3.5 times more likely to get injured compared with winners (rate ratio, 3.48; 95% CI, 2.73-4.44). Conclusion: Injuries are frequent and often significant in kickboxing, and better injury surveillance is strongly recommended. The scarcity of good-quality epidemiological data in kickboxing, especially pertaining to the severity of injuries, underscores the urgent need for further research, whereupon evidence-informed sport safety and injury prevention policies can be developed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-5
Number of pages5
JournalOrthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2 Nov 2015
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2015. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • athletic injuries
  • epidemiology
  • head injuries
  • kickboxing
  • martial arts


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