Study finds traumatic event increase the risk of sports injury

Athletes a greater risk of sports-related injury who have once experienced sexual or physical abuse in their life run. According to the Science Daily report, a new study from the Athletics Research Center at Linköping University in Sweden has shown a connection between lifetime abuse experience and injury risk in female athletes.

The study is the first of its kind to investigate the consequences of sexual and physical abuse for athletes and has been carried out on elite athletes. The Athletics Research Center published a report commissioned by the Swedish Athletics Association that surveyed sexual abuse within Swedish athletics earlier in 2018. The study has been published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine

Toomas Timpka, professor in the Department of Medical and Health Sciences and head of the study reportedly said that they wanted to repeat the study into the presence of abuse and also examine what it means for the athlete. They wanted to investigate whether abuse is connected to the high degree of overuse injuries that they see in competitive athletics.

The study focused on the risk of injury. Around 197 athletes participated in the study, 11 per cent had experienced sexual abuse at some point in their life and around 18 per cent had experienced physical abuse. Physical abuse brings 12 times higher risk of sports injury in female athletes. Sexual abuse involves 8 times higher high risk for non-sports injury. The correlation between an increase in the risk of injury and abuse appears most clearly in female athletes.

Toomas Timpka also reportedly said that the athletes carry the trauma inside themselves, and take risks that can eventually lead to overuse injury. At the same time, it is important to remember that not all female athletes who suffer from long-term injuries have been subject to abuse.

Sports psychology has focussed on performance, epidemiological studies in sport and other sport-focussed medicine have traditionally been targeted on the musculoskeletal system.

The researchers hope that their study can pave the way for a new multidisciplinary research area within sports medicine. They can gain new insights with the aid of clinical psychologists and child psychiatrists who participate in sports medicine research.

Published: September 8, 2018 3:08 pm