The Prevalence of Concussions and Musculoskeletal Injuries and Access to Appropriate Medical Care at Elite Taekwondo Tournaments in the

Republic of Korea Fife GP, Harter RA: Sports Medicine Laboratory, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR Accepted for poster presentation at the 60th NATA Annual Meeting & Clinical Symposia Context: In the Olympic sport of taekwondo, high velocity kicks and punches to the head are integral aspects of tournament competition. Little is known about the number of concussions sustained by participants, the type and availability of sports medicine care, and the assessment and management protocols used to evaluate the severity of concussions reported to medical personnel. Objectives: To determine the number and severity of concussions and other musculoskeletal injuries sustained while participating in full contact taekwondo sparring tournaments and to evaluate athletes’ access to and perceptions of the medical services provided at these elite tournaments. Design: Cross-sectional survey. Setting: Questionnaires were administered to participants in elite taekwondo tournaments in South Korea, specifically, the 41st Taekwondo National President’s Cup in 2006 and the 30th Korean National Collegiate Taekwondo Championships in 2007. Patients or Other Participants: 256 World Taekwondo Federation certified black belt athletes (183 males, 73 females) of Korean nationality [age (mean + SD) = 19.2 + 2.5 yrs, years of experience = 8.8 + 3.4 yrs, number of taekwondo tournaments entered in last 5 years = 23.7 + 13.9]. Interventions: This investigation used a 28-question, paper-and-pencil Korean language questionnaire. Responses included dichotomous “yes” or “no” answers with follow-up questions soliciting the number of concussions experienced, the duration of time lost following injury, and concussion evaluation methods employed by attending medical personnel. Four Likert-scale questions were included to gauge athletes’ perceptions concerning the medical services provided. Main Outcome Measures: We used nonparametric frequency analysis and descriptive statistics to identify a medical history of concussion and/or concussion symptoms. Taekwondo athletes were also asked to indicate whether they had sustained any of 7 different categories of musculoskeletal injury during tournament competition, e.g., fracture, dislocation, sprain. Results: 14 of 256 athletes surveyed (5.5%) reported that they had sustained a concussion during a taekwondo tournament, with 6 subjects (2.3%) indicating that they were disqualified from further tournament participation due to concussion. In contrast, 100 of these black belt competitors (39.1%) indicated that they experienced concussion symptoms after a blow to the head or a fall during tournament competition. With regard to musculoskeletal injuries, 154 athletes (60.2%) sustained 4 or more categories of injury, with 80 (51.9%) of these injuries being so severe as to warrant tournament disqualification. Only 34.8% of taekwondo tournament participants surveyed agreed or strongly agreed that medical stations were accessible at tournaments, while 32.8% thought that medical personnel were readily available. Conclusions: While only 5.5% of taekwondo athletes surveyed had sustained a concussion, nearly 40% experienced concussion symptoms as a result of tournament participation. None of the competitors who sustained concussions

underwent formal post-concussion assessment of symptoms to grade the severity of their brain injury. Word Count: 448.
This study funded by an Undergraduate Research Innovation, Scholarship and Creativity grant.

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