Time-loss injuries in karate: a prospective cohort study of 4 consecutive World Karate Championships

Dušana Augustovičová, Reidar P. Lystad, Rafael Arriaza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
33 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Prospective studies on injuries in martial arts competitions are scarce, especially those involving time-loss injuries. The upsurge of karate athletes competing in top-level karate competitions warrants elucidation of the time-loss injury risk.

Purpose: To determine the time-loss injury proportion and incidence rate, describe the injury pattern among elite senior karate athletes, and compare the risk of time-loss injuries in male versus female athletes and in individual (ie, weight categories) versus team competitions (free-weight category).

Study Design: Descriptive epidemiology study.

Methods: Data were collected at 4 consecutive World Karate Championships (2010, 2012, 2014, and 2016). Injury incidence rates were calculated per 1000 athlete-exposures (IIRAE) and per 1000 minutes of exposure (IIRME), with 95% CIs. Subgroups were compared by calculating their rate ratios with 95% CIs.

Results: A total of 506 injuries were recorded, of which 51 were time-loss injuries (10%). The overall time-loss injury rate was significantly lower for female versus male athletes and slightly lower for team versus individual competitions. Overall, 1.4% of all athletes sustained a time-loss injury, and the IIRAE and IIRME were 5.13 (95% CI, 3.82-6.74) and 1.98 (95% CI, 1.47-2.60), respectively. The most common type of time-loss injury was fracture (41%), followed by dislocation (20%) and concussion (12%).

Conclusion: The time-loss injury incidence rate for top-level karate competitions found in this prospective study was relatively low. Comprehensive knowledge about the incidence of time-loss injuries during karate competitions represents an essential basis to develop effective strategies for injury prevention. Thus, the introduction of a uniform injury surveillance system in martial arts is of utmost importance.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2325967119865866
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
JournalOrthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 23 Aug 2019

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2019. 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
  • karate
  • combat sport
  • incidence
  • risk factors


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