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Objective: To prospectively evaluate the injury risk and injury severity of climbers competing in the climbing World Cup series. Methods: In 2012 the International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC) implied, on demand of their Medical Commission, a medical injury and incidence surveillance system for their international events. All injuries and incidences were recorded, analyzed and classified. Climbing time was collected and injury rate per 1000 hours of sports performance calculated. Results: In total there were 1362 days (3405 h) of lead climbing, 1083 days (2707.5 h) of bouldering and 255 days (637.5 h) of speed climbing. Five injuries/medical incidences took place. All were grade 2 injuries. The overall injury/medical incidence risk was 0.74/1000 h of competition climbing. Both genders combined had a 0.29/1000 h injury/medical incidence risk for lead climbing, 1.47/1000 h for bouldering and zero for speed climbing. Conclusion: Indoor Competition Climbing showed a minor injury rate and the few injuries which occurred were of minor severity.
Medicina Sportiva
Med Sport 17 (4): 168-170, 2013
DOI: 10.5604/17342260.1081272
Copyright © 2013 Medicina Sportiva
Volker Schöffl1,2,3 (A-F), Eugen Burtscher1 (A,B,D,E), Francesco Coscia1 (A,B,D,E)
1Medical Commission of the International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC)
2Department of Traumasurgery, Friedrich Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Nuremberg, Germany
3Department of Sportorthopedics – Sportsmedicine, Klinikum Bamberg, Bamberg, Germany
Objective: To prospectively evaluate the injury risk and injury severity of climbers competing in the climbing World Cup
Methods: In 2012 the International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC) implied, on demand of their Medical Commission,
a medical injury and incidence surveillance system for their international events. All injuries and incidences were recorded,
analyzed and classified. Climbing time was collected and injury rate per 1000 hours of sports performance calculated.
Results: In total there were 1362 days (3405 h) of lead climbing, 1083 days (2707.5 h) of bouldering and 255 days
(637.5 h) of speed climbing. Five injuries/medical incidences took place. All were grade 2 injuries. The overall injury/medical
incidence risk was 0.74/1000 h of competition climbing. Both genders combined had a 0.29/1000 h injury/medical incidence
risk for lead climbing, 1.47/1000 h for bouldering and zero for speed climbing.
Conclusion: Indoor Competition Climbing showed a minor injury rate and the few injuries which occurred were of minor
Key words: rock climbing, sport climbing, climbing injury, sports injury, world cup
Since the first international sport climbing World Cup
1989 in Snowmass, CO (USA) and the first official World
Championships 1991 in Frankfurt (Germany) climbing
competitions are gaining fast in popularity [1]. The first
international event had only two disciplines, lead climb-
ing and speed climbing. Bouldering, as athird discipline,
started with its own World Cup in 1999. Organizing body
of these international climbing events is the International
Federation of Sport Climbing, which was founded in 2007
[1]. Sport climbing already was ademonstrating sport for
the Olympics in Albertville 1992.
For an objective analysis of the climbing sport´s risk
prospective studies are necessary [2]. Up to date most
analysis of rock climbing injuries are either retrospec-
tive or do not exactly differ between the various sub
disciplines performed (e.g. indoor climbing, alpine or
traditional climbing) [2,3]. Only three studies [4-6] fo-
cus purely on indoor climbing and one on competition
climbing [7]. Afurther analysis is necessary to evaluate
not only one single competition [7] but awhole World
Cup season and is presented in this short report.
To gather exact information about the involved
injury risk of competition climbing in the World Cup
an injury surveillance system was implied through the
IFSC Medical Commission in 2012. All international
competitions of the IFSC are included. The competition
doctor in charge needs to complete an injury report,
which is included into the Jury President report. For all
injuries or medical incidents an additional injury form
must be completed, with the full data for afurther fol-
low up of the patient (injury outcome). All reports are
evaluated through the MedCom IFSC. For the present
analysis all 2012 World Cup events and the 2012 World
Championships were included. There were 10 events for
lead climbing, 7 for bouldering and 5 for speed climbing.
The climbing time for all events was collected through
the official results from the IFSC ( From
the collected number of competition days the climb-
ing hours were calculated, estimating one competition
day as 2.5 hours of climbing time. This estimation was
already further explained and used in prior studies [7]
and is based on the UIAA MedCom recommendation
for injury classification [8]. The respective injury risk
(including the risk of medical incidences) per 1000 h
of sports performance was calculated and the injuries
classified according to the UIAA MedCom classification
[8]. Nevertheless, as some acute presenting conditions
during aclimbing competition are based on overstrain/
overuse rather than on areal trauma the UIAA score
was further extended and grade 2 injuries were dis-
tinguished into grade 2a: grade 2 injury based on an
overuse and grade 2b: acute injury (climbing injury
score, see below). Injury location was reported using the
OSICS (Orchard Sports Injury Classification System)
body area character [9].
IFSC Climbing Injury Score (extended UIAA Med-
Com score [8])
0 No injury or illness
1 Mild injury or illness, no medical intervention nec-
essary, self-therapy (e.g. bruises, contusions, strains)
Schöffl V., Burtscher E., Coscia F. / Medicina Sportiva 17 (4): 168-170, 2013
2a Moderate severe injury based on overuse/overstrain.
Conservative therapy or minor surgery, outpatient
therapy, heals without permanent damage (e.g.
tendonitis, epicondylitis, capsulitis, impingement
2b Moderate severe acute injury or illness, not life
threatening, prolonged conservative or minor sur-
gery, outpatient therapy, doctor attendance within
ashort time frame (days), injury related work ab-
sence, heals without permanent damage (e.g. undis-
placed fractures, tendon ruptures, pulley ruptures,
dislocations, meniscal tear, minor frostbite)
3 Major injury or illness, not life-threatening, hospi-
talization, surgical intervention necessary, immedi-
ate doctor attendance necessary, injury-related work
absence, heals with or without permanent damage
(e.g. dislocated joint, fractures, vertebral fractures,
cerebral injuries, frostbite with amputations)
4 Acute mortal danger, polytrauma, immediate pre-
hospital doctor or experienced trauma paramedic
attendance if possible, acute surgical intervention,
outcome: alive with permanent damage
5 Acute mortal danger, polytrauma, immediate pre-
hospital doctor or experienced trauma paramedic
attendance if possible, acute surgical intervention,
outcome: death
6 Immediate death
Overall 22 World Cups events took place in 2012
(lead: 10, bouldering 7 and speed 5). In total there
were 1362 days (3405 h) of lead climbing, 1083 days
(2707.5 h) bouldering and 255 days (637.5 h) of speed
climbing. All disciplines together had 2700 climbing
days, which calculates to 6750 climbing hours. 5 inju-
ries/events took place, which were 4 injuries and one
medical incidence (see Table 1). It is noticeable that in
incidence no.1 the climber fell in the first qualification
round and hit the wall with his chin. He was treated
in ahospital and received stitches to his chin wound.
Afterwards he was able to continue the competition;
which he actually won.
The overall injury/medical incidence risk was
0.74/1000 h of competition climbing. It was 0.54 in
male and 0.97/1000 h in female climbers. Both genders
combined had a0.29/1000 h injury/medical incidence
risk for lead climbing, 1.47/1000 h for bouldering and
zero for speed climbing. No higher than grade 2b
injuries occurred.
Climbing and mountaineering sports are gaining
more and more public interest [2]. While outdoor
climbing has its great number of athletes also indoor
climbing is aconstantly raising sport, with many climb-
ers never ever even climbing outdoors. Various previous
studies analyzed the injury risk for different climbing
activities [2,3,6,10-18]. Objective reporting of injury
site and severity varied in most studies according to the
injury definition and methodology used [2,3,8,10]. This
creates differences in the injury and fatality results and
conclusions, which in turn makes inter-study compari-
sons difficult. In 2011 the UIAA Medical Commission
published its injury score as aconsensus paper, which
will help to increase inter-study comparability [8]. The
new score was already used in the study of Neuhof et al.
[10] and Schöffl et al. [6] and is part of several other on-
going studies. To further differ between overuse injuries
and acute injuries this score was extended for the present
evaluation. While most climbing studies demonstrated
aminor injury risk for sport climbing in comparison to
alpine climbing, little research is presented on indoor,
and especially on competition climbing [2,3,6].
Wright et al. [14] evaluated the frequency of over-
use injury during the indoor 1999 World Climbing
Championship (n=295) where 44% of the respondents
had sustained an overuse injury, 19% at more than one
site. Wright [14] found an independent correlation to
increased injuries (P < 0.01) when: climbing harder
routes, bouldering or leading versus top rope climbing,
and climbing >10 years. Multivariate analysis removed
the effect of sex as an independent predictor. Jones et
al. [12] similarly found increased numbers of overuse
injuries or injuries caused by strenuous moves, and less
from fall related injuries than in traditional and outdoor
sport climbing [15,17,19,20]. Three large-scale studies
[4-6] analysed indoor climbing injuries. Limb’s survey
reported 55 accidents, from 1.021 million climbing wall
visits, and no fatalities [5]. Schöffl and Winkelmann
prospectively surveyed 25.163 registrants at ten climb-
Table 1. Injuries and medical incidences of the 2012 Sport Climbing World Cup
Number Gender Discipline Injury OSICS [9] IFSC Climbing
Injury Score
1 M Lead chin contusion, skin laceration H 2b
2 F Boulder ankle sprain A 2b
3 F Boulder dehydration X 2b
4 F Boulder suspected ACL tear K 2b
5 M Boulder ankle sprain A 2b
(M = male, F = female, ACL = anterior cruciate ligament)
Schöffl V., Burtscher E., Coscia F. / Medicina Sportiva 17 (4): 168-170, 2013
Authors’ contribution
A – Study Design
B – Data Collection
C – Statistical Analysis
D – Data Interpretation
E – Manuscript Preparation
F – Literature Search
G – Funds Collection
ing walls [4]. Only four significant injuries (NACA 3)
were found and no fatalities; the injury-risk per visit was
0.016% or 0.079 injuries/1000 h of performance [4]. Jus t
recently Schöffl et al. published their data on aprospec-
tive analysis of 515.337 indoor climbing wall visits in
5 years [6]. Thirty climbing injuries were recorded, 22
were in male and 8 in female climbers with atotal mean
age of 27.5 (± 10.6) years. Injuries happened in 6 cases
while bouldering, in 16 cases while lead climbing, in 7
cases while top roping and in one case as athird per-
son (not climbing or belaying) while watching another
climber. Fifteen injuries were UIAA MedCom grade
2, 13 grade 3 and 2 grade 4 injuries. The overall injury
rate was 0.02 injuries per 1000 h of climbing activities.
In summary, these indoor climbing studies demon-
strated avery minor injury risk and severity in com-
parison to traditional climbing and various other sports
[2,3,6]. Overuse injuries were commonly reported in
upper limbs, with the finger most affected [2,3].
Only one study analysed competition climbing, but
only at one single event. Schöffl and Küpper recorded in-
juries and injury rates at the 2005 World Championships
[7]. They found an injury rate of 3.1/1000 h. Eighteen
acute medical problems were treated (including 13 cases
of skin bruising). They did not yet grade these injuries
yet according to the UIAA MedCom score, as this study
was prior to the scores publication. In analysing their
injury at this point of time all the 13 cases of skin bruises
are only UIAA grade 1 injuries. Grade 1 injuries are very
minor injuries, which are self treatable and are normally
not included in the evaluation of the significant injuries
[2-4,8,10]. Neglecting these there were only 4 injuries (all
UIAA grade 2b) and one medical incident (grade 2b).
These numbers are similar to the present evaluation of
the 2012 Climbing World Cup. Only one study reported
afatality rate, which was zero in 515.337 indoor climb-
ing wall visits in 5 years [6]. The present evaluation also
showed azero fatality rate, which is similar to the previous
years of World Cup Climbing Competitions (retrospec-
tive data, IFSC, Nevertheless this study
is the first that evaluates awhole season of World Cup
competition climbing completely. Competition climbing
(World Cup) showed avery minor injury risk, with the
injury severity being also minor. Nevertheless the po-
tential risk of afatal injury always remains. These results
may not necessarily represent all competition climbing,
as safety standards may be lower in local or regional level
competitions. Further prospective analysis is necessary
and the monitoring of all Climbing World Cup events
through the IFSC Medical Commission will continue.
Declaration of interest
The authors report no conflicts of interest.
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Accepted: November 28, 2013
Published: December 20, 2013
Address for correspondence:
Volker Schöffl
Klinikum Bamberg, Bugerstr. 80,
96049 Bamberg, Germany
Tel. 004995150312241, fax 004995150312249
Eugen Burtscher:
Francesco Coscia:
... 13 These data differ greatly from other reports on injury statistics of (inter-)national climbing competitions that stated incidences of 0.7 and 3.1 per 1000 hours sports performance. 12 14 Steffen et al compared all new Olympic sports to traditional Olympic sports during the 2018 Youth Olympic Summer Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina. With only one injury among 42 competitors during the entire climbing competition, the authors identified climbing among the sports with the lowest injury/ illness risk during the games. ...
... 17 20-23 In three available studies (performed during 2005-2012), in which injuries during competitive events were listed separately according to discipline, bouldering represented the leading cause of injuries. [12][13][14] With evidence lacking and data currently based on observations rather than on scientific evidence, injury rates in general seem slightly increasing due to the worldwide 'boom' of the sub-discipline bouldering, which also is associated with a wider range of injury types and locations. 22 24 Reasons for higher injury rates in bouldering compared with other sub-disciplines are likely due to more aggressive movements in shorter routes and acrobatic elements (figure 1). ...
... Also, repetitive high load on musculoskeletal structures while repeatedly trying routes within a given time limit, and limited protection when falling from higher heights (usually in the range of 3-5 m), may contribute to higher injury risk. 14 18 22 24 ...
Climbing as a competition sport has become increasingly popular in recent years, particularly the sub-discipline of bouldering. The sport will debut in the Tokyo Summer Olympic Games. National and international competitions have three disciplines: lead (climbing with rope protection), bouldering (climbing at lower heights with mattress floor protection) and speed (maximum speed climbing on a standardised route in 1-on-1 mode). There is also a ‘combined mode’ of all three disciplines ( combined ) which forms the Olympic competition format; all competition formats are held on artificial walls. Existing literature describes a predominantly low injury frequency and severity in elite climbing. In comparison to climbing on real rock, artificial climbing walls have recently been associated with higher injury rates. Finger injuries such as tenosynovitis, pulley lesions and growth plate injuries are the most common injuries. As finger injuries are sport-specific, medical supervision of climbing athletes requires specific medical knowledge for diagnosis and treatment. There is so far little evidence on effective injury prevention measures in top athletes, and antidoping measures, in general, requiring further work in this field. An improved data situation regarding high-performance climbing athletes is crucial to ensure that the sport continues to be largely safe and injury-free and to prevent doping cases as extensively as possible.
... 1,2 Its inclusion in the 2020 Summer Olympics further increased its professionality and influence training regimens, injury rates, and injury profiles. [2][3][4][5] Despite the high level of competition, youth climbers are more prone to making errors, underestimating objective risks, and sustaining injury owing to numerous well-described factors. 1,2,3,5 A study specifically examining youth climber injury showed greater than twice the risk of injury in competitive climbers vs recreational ones. ...
... Falls and making a large move were also commonly reported mechanisms, again consistent with previous data. 4,12,14,[17][18][19] Most injuries reported in this small study required little time away from climbing. It is unclear whether this was due to mild severity, earlier return than appropriate, a combination of both, or the small sample of respondents and recall bias. ...
Full-text available
Introduction Competitive rock climbing is a fast-growing sport. Despite comprehensive reviews on adult climbing-related injuries, few pediatric-specific reviews exist, and studies exclusively on competitive youth climbers are needed. Objectives of this study include 1) estimating the injury rate (IR); 2) describing injury patterns and mechanisms; and 3) identifying injury risk factors in competitive youth climbers. Methods The study design was cross-sectional. Competitive youth climbers were included. Participants completed an anonymous questionnaire to document climbing injuries over the preceding 12 mo. Demographic data and data regarding injuries were collected. The IR was calculated. Analyses were performed to assess association between injury and multiple variables. Multivariate logistic regression was completed for significant variables to control for exposure time. Results The IR was 2.7 injuries per 1000 climbing hours. Hand/Finger injuries were most frequent; chronic overuse was the most common etiology. Injury severity was low overall. Risk factors significantly associated with climbing injury were climbing discipline (bouldering > sport/lead climbing), return to climbing while still in pain, finger taping, higher number of hours climbed per session and per year, climbing at higher bouldering difficulties, and unsupervised climbing. Conclusions The IR in competitive youth climbers was found to be lower than previously reported but higher than suggested by adult studies or those that exclude chronic injuries. Findings are consistent with types, severity, and mechanisms reported in other studies. Modifiable risk factors, especially return to climbing while still injured, warrant further prospective investigation.
... Injuries from the 3/4 grade were qualified for the study according to the discussed scale [25]. For comparison, according to studies by Schöffl et al., the rate of injury when climbing with a rope is estimated at 0.29 injuries per 1,000 hours [39]. ...
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Introduction and objective. Anxiety and depression disorders are increasingly affecting society. Anxiety disorders are the most prevalent psychiatric disorders, and depressive disorders are increasing in society worldwide. Lower back pain is one of the common health problems experienced by 50-80% of adults at some point in their lives. The aim of the study was to assess the climbing environment in terms of depression, generalized anxiety and pain in the lumbar spine. Materials and method. 139 people training on climbing walls Lublin in December 2019 were invited to participate in the study. After applying exclusion criteria, 113 people with an average age of 30±8 years, 88 men (average age: 30 years) and 35 women (average age: 30 years) were qualified for the study. They were examined by the author's own questionnaire and the PHQ-9, GAD-7 and ODI questionnaires. Statistical analyses were applied and the significance threshold was set at 0.05. Results. Overall percentage results suggest mild depression at 27%, moderate anxiety at 27%, and mild back pain at 26% in the group of climbers tested. Climbing level and climbing sub-discipline did not affect the average results of PHQ-9, GAD-7 (p>0.05). Back pain was more common in boulder climbers (p<0.05). Conclusions. The level of sport climbing did not affect the level of depression, generalized anxiety, and back pain. The sport climbing level did not affect the incidence of injuries. The association in climbing clubs is connected with overcoming more difficult climbing routes and a higher level of generalized anxiety. Bouldering was associated with a greater level of pain in the lumbar spine and more injuries.
Introduction: Indoor climbing injuries are often related to overuse, and climbers choose between self-management and seeing a medical practitioner. This study evaluated predictors of prolonged injury and seeking medical care for indoor climbing injuries. Methods: A convenience sample of adult climbers from 5 gyms in New York City was interviewed about injuries over the past 3 y, because of which they stopped climbing for at least a week or saw a medical practitioner. Results: In total, 122 of 284 (43%) participants had at least 1 injury, for a total of 158 injuries. Fifty (32%) were prolonged, lasting at least 12 wk. Predictors of prolonged injury included older age (odds ratio [OR], 2.28, per 10-y increase; 95% CI, 1.31-3.96), hours per week spent climbing (OR, 1.14, per 1-h increase; 95% CI, 1.06-1.24), climbing difficulty (OR, 2.19, per difficulty group increase; 95% CI, 1.31-3.66), and years of climbing experience (OR, 3.99, per 5-y increase; 95% CI, 1.61-9.84). Only 38% of injuries were seen by a medical practitioner. Predictors of seeking care included prolonged injury (OR, 3.04; 95% CI, 1.39-6.64) and rope climbing preference (OR, 1.98; 95% CI, 1.02-3.82). The most common theme for seeking care was serious pain or interference with climbing or daily activities. Conclusions: Despite prolonged injuries being common, especially in older, more experienced, and higher-level climbers, only a third of climbers with injuries seek medical care. Outside of injuries causing minimal pain or limitation, those who self-managed reported receiving advice from other climbers or online research as a prominent reason for that choice.
The monograph presents the author’s biomechanical technology of injury prevention in the climbing. The developed technology contains 3 directions: 1 — theoretical and methodical (creation of bases for understanding by students of mechanisms of formation of movements without risk of injury, formation at students of concept of biomechanically rational movements in general); 2 — analytical (providing students with knowledge about modern means of self-analysis of the level of technical skills); 3 — practical (sportsnen’ mastery of practical means of injury prevention, ie, exercises that will promote the formation of biomechanically rational movements in any sport, and thus prevent injury). The monograph contains an algorithm for identifying the main kinematic parameters of different models of equipment, typical for athletes with different levels of mastery of sports techniques. Based on biomechanical analysis, the main aspects of movement technique on the example of climbing, which affect the level of injuries of athletes. The monograph also presents the principles of application of means for injury prevention. The monograph contains developed and systematized tools to prevent injuries to athletes. The effectiveness of biomechanical technology in the use of neuromuscular training using exercises in a closed kinematic circuit, exercises in eccentric mode in combination with strength exercises for injury prevention and the formation of effective movement techniques for climbing.
Conducting yearly team examinations and serving as a medical officer at climbing competitions are central elements in taking care of competitive climbers. The team examination plays an important role in early injury detection and is an opportunity to establish a trusting relationship so that the athletes approach the team physician openly with questions or concerns. It is based on the recommendations of the national Olympic Committees and the Medical Commission of the IFSC, which recommend performing a sports-medical and an orthopedic exam, a resting ECG, a spiroergometry with stress ECG, a cardiac echography, a laboratory analysis, and body fat measurement. In climbers, we also always perform an ultrasound examination of the hand and fingers. During climbing competitions, the most frequent treatments are the care of acute traumata need and many superficial skin bleeds. Nevertheless, the occasional internal medical condition also occurs. A central part in being an effective medical supervisor in competitions is organization and coordination of the whole medical team and the communication with athletes, judges, and other officials—it is always teamwork. To achieve this, specific insight into climbing medicine is essential.KeywordsSpiroergometryCardiac echographyCompetitionAnti-dopingTeam examination
Sports epidemiology is the study of the determinants and distribution of injury. The classification of climbing activity enables researchers to evaluate the risk of injury associated with a particular type of climbing behavior and to profile the risk of injury associated in engaging in different forms of climbing activity.For example, the inherent risk factors associated in alpine climbing are completely different to those encountered by indoor competition climbers. In outdoor rock climbing, most injuries are acute in nature and affect the lower extremities, usually due to a fall and impact with the climbing surface and/or the ground. For sport, indoor, and competition climbing, including bouldering, chronic overstrain injuries are common and most frequently affect the upper extremities. The UIAA Medical Commission’s scoring system is an established scale for grading injuries in climbing disciplines. The majority of reported injuries are of low-grade severity; however, fatal injuries still occur in all forms of climbing activity. Recently, an increase in more serious injuries has been reported predominantly occurring in modern indoor bouldering gyms.KeywordsClimbing injuriesEpidemiologyInjury incidenceInjury gradingInjury scores
Introduction : Bouldering is a climbing sport that has been attracting a greater number of recreational and professional athletes over recent decades, which has led to an increase in sport-related injuries. The aim of this study was to determine the characteristics and the types of acute injuries caused by bouldering. Further athlete-specific factors and covariates for the trauma types were investigated. Materials and methods : In this retrospective analysis, all patients presented to the level 1 trauma centre at the hospital of the Technical University of Munich after an acute trauma related to bouldering were identified via the hospital documentation system. The period of observation was ten years, from 2010 until 2020. Epidemiological and injury-specific information as well as the initial treatment were registered. In a second step, the affected patients were invited to participate in an online survey in order to collect information about their skills, experience, and details about the trauma. Results : A total of 430 patients with 447 acute injuries were identified. There were 244 injuries among female and 203 injuries among male patients. The most common anatomical region affected was ankle (36.7 %), knee (16.8 %), elbow (12.3 %), spine (7.2 %) and shoulder (6.3 %). The majority of 273 (61.1 %) injuries were located at the lower extremities. The most frequent types of injury were sprains (53.0 %), fractures (22.8 %) or joint dislocations (11.9 %). Surgical treatment was necessary for 89 (19.9 %) patients. A return to bouldering was more likely in male patients 50 (75.8 %) than in females 47 (59.5 %) (p=0.038). Subjectively, inexperienced boulderers were also less likely to return to the sport than advanced boulderers with greater experience (p=0.001) Conclusion : The incidence of bouldering injuries is rising. Typical bouldering injuries could be identified and quantified at least for those patients who were presented to a hospital emergency department. Injuries in this setting do differ from the injury types known from rock climbing injuries as they are located on the lower extremity more often. Injuries of the fingers and hand, which are common climbing injuries, have been barely encountered in the emergency centre.
Der Kaderuntersuchung und der Wettkampfbetreuung kommt bei der sportmedizinischen Kaderbetreuung zentrale Stellung zu. Die Kaderuntersuchungen erfolgen auf nationalem und Landesniveau auf der Basis der Empfehlungen des Deutschen Olympischen Sportbunds (DOSB) und beinhalten neben der allgemeinmedizinischen und orthopädischen Untersuchung die Spiroergometrie mit Belastungs-EKG, ein Ruhe-EKG, eine kardiale Echokardiographie sowie eine Labor- und Körperfettuntersuchung. Zusätzlich erfolgt immer eine sonographische Untersuchung der Hände und Finger. Im Rahmen der aktiven Betreuung von Kletterwettkämpfen werden vor allem akute Traumata versorgt, aber auch internistische Probleme gesehen. Zentrale Inhalte einer effektiven Wettkampfbetreuung sind immer Teamarbeit, Planung, Koordination der Einsatzkräfte und fachliches Know-how.
In der Analyse von Unfallverletzungen im Klettersport und deren Epidemiologie muss genau zwischen den einzelnen Subdisziplinen der Sportart differenziert werden. So stellt sich das Risiko im alpinen Klettersport mit objektiven Gefahren anders dar als beim Indoorbouldern oder Wettkampfklettern. Beim Fels- und Outdoorklettern betreffen die häufigsten Verletzungen vor allem die untere Extremität und sind Folge von Stürzen. Beim Sport-, Indoor-, Wettkampfklettern und Indoorbouldern stehen Überlastungsschäden im Vordergrund und betreffen vor allem die obere Extremität. Zur Verletzungsgraduierung hat sich mittlerweile der UIAA-MedCom-Score etabliert. Während die meisten Verletzungen niederen Grades sind, häufen sich aktuell Berichte über eine Zunahme schwererer Verletzung, insbesondere in modernen Indoorboulderanlagen.
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Climbing and mountaineering sports are gaining more and more public interest. This chapter reviews scientific studies on injuries and accidents in climbing and mountaineering sports to evaluate the danger of these sports and their specific injuries and preventive measures. An initial PubMed query was performed using the key words 'rock climbing', 'sport climbing', 'mountaineering', 'alpine injuries' and 'climbing injuries'. More than 500 extracted papers were analyzed which gave information on injury, mortality/fatality, prevention and risk factors. Cross-references were also scanned according to the above given criteria. Also the data sources of the UIAA and IFSC Medical Commissions were analyzed. Overall, alpine (traditional) climbing has a higher injury risk than sport climbing, especially indoor climbing. Alpine and ice climbing have more objective dangers which can affect climber safety. Overall injury rates are low, nevertheless fatalities do occur in all climbing disciplines. Altitude-related illnesses/injuries also occur in mountaineering. Most injuries in sport climbing are overstrain injuries of the upper extremity. In alpine climbing, injuries mostly occur through falls which affect the lower extremity. Objective reporting of the injury site and severity varied in most studies according to the injury definition and methodology used. This creates differences in the injury and fatality results and conclusions, which in turn makes inter-study comparisons difficult. In future studies, the UIAA MedCom score for mountain injuries should be used to guarantee inter-study comparability. Evidence in preventive measures is low and further studies must be performed in this field.
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Introduction: Ice-climbing is widely considered to be a hazardous sport with a high risk of injury. To date, there has been no scientific analysis to characterize and reveal the prevalence of injury in this sport. The purpose of this study was to quantify and rate ice-climbing injuries. Methods: Eighty-eight ice-climbers (water ice) (13 female, 75 male, mean age 34.6 years) from nine countries completed a comprehensive questionnaire on ice-climbing accidents and injuries, climbing frequency and risk taking behaviour. Iceclimbing hours were quantified and injuries rated according to the NACA (National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics) score. To enable comparison to other sports, the injury risk was calculated per 1000 hours of participation in a given sport. Results: Seventeen athletes (19%) reported a total of 35 overuse syndromes resulting from ice-climbing. Ninety-five injuries were retrospectively reported for a consecutive 3-year period. The incidence and respective grading of the acute injuries were: 67 for NACA 1, 24 for NACA 2, and 4 for NACA 3. Most acute injuries were open wounds (55.2%) and haematomas (21.9%). These injuries occurred 61.3% of the time while lead climbing, 23.8% while following and the rest during belaying, approach or return. The incidence of overuse injury syndromes was 0.77/1000 hours of sports participation. The injury incidence was 4.07/1000hr for NACA 1-3 with 2.87/1000hr in NACA 1, and none in NACA 4-7. Body mass index (BMI) correlated significantly (P<0.05) with an increased risk of injury. Overuse syndromes correlated significantly with training hours (P<0.01), ice-climbing level (P<0.01) and the risk willingness while lead climbing on ice (P<0.01). Conclusion: Contrary to the popular perception, our study demonstrated that ice-climbing is not a sport with a high risk of injury. All NACA I injuries are of minor medical relevance and would normally not need special treatment or a doctor’s attendance. The results of injury risk per 1000 hours of participation in ice-climbing was comparable to that of indoor competition climbing and to other outdoor sports (hiking, mountain biking, kayaking). The injury risk was also much less than a standard sport such as soccer.
Rock climbing's popularity continues to rise, with people of all ages regularly participating in the sport. Climbing literature suggests climbers get injured mostly in their upper extremities. Most studies on climbing injury analysis are conducted retrospectively, with all the inherent problems of a retrospective setup (no exact time collection, biased injury perception, etc). Prospective data are still missing. We prospectively evaluated all attendees of a major German indoor climbing gym in Stuttgart, Germany, with bouldering and lead climbing facilities. Attendee's age, sex, and time spent climbing were electronically recorded on each visit. All acute injuries were graded using the Medical Commission of the Union Internationale des Associations d'Alpinisme Score. Injury cause, belayers' and climbers' experience, and outcome were additionally analyzed. During a 5-year period (2007-2011), 515,337 visits to the climbing wall were registered, of which 63.6% were by male visitors, 36.4% female, within an age of 8-80 years (median, 34 years). The average time of climbing was 2 hours 47 minutes. Thirty climbing injuries were recorded, 22 were in male and 8 in female climbers with a total mean age of 27.5 ± 10.6 years. Acute injuries happened in 6 cases while bouldering, in 16 cases while lead climbing, in 7 cases while top roping, and in 1 case as a third person (not climbing or belaying) while watching another climber. Bouldering injuries were mostly the result of falls onto the mat, whereas in lead and top rope climbing various scenarios happened. Fifteen (50%) injuries were Medical Commission of the Union Internationale des Associations d'Alpinisme grade 2, 13 (43%) were grade 3, and 2 (7%) were grade 4, with no fatalities. The overall injury rate was 0.02 injuries per 1000 hours of climbing activities. This was the first study to accurately record time spent indoor climbing digitally and evaluate the acute injuries prospectively in a large cohort. There were few injuries sustained, suggesting indoor climbing has a low risk of acute injury per 1000 hours of participation. The injuries were of minor to moderate injury severity, and no fatalities occurred. Several injuries could have been avoided, and further injury-prevention concepts should be developed.
During a period of 6 month the risk of significant injuries on indoor climbing walls was survived. A total of 25,163 visitors were registrated at the 10 walls. Overall only 4 significant injuries were found, the injury-risk per visit was 0.016%.
Variations in definitions, scores, and methodologies have created differences in the results and conclusions obtained from studies on mountaineering and climbing sports injuries and illnesses; this has made interstudy comparisons difficult or impossible. To develop a common, simple, and sport-specific scoring system to classify injuries and illnesses in mountaineering and climbing studies; such retrospective scoring would facilitate the analysis and surveillance of their frequencies, severity and fatalities, and outcomes of any treatment. The UIAA (The International Mountaineering and Climbing Federation) makes recommendations, sets policy, and advocates on behalf of the climbing and mountaineering community internationally through its various commissions. Using a nominal group consensus model approach, a working group was formed during the UIAA Medical Commission's meeting in Adršpach - Zdoňov, in the Czech Republic, 2008. This group critically examined climbing and other relevant literature for various methodological approaches in measuring injury incident rates and severity, including data sources, and produced a working document that was later edited and ratified by all members of the UIAA Medical Commission. Definitions of injury location, injury classification, and fatality risk are proposed. Case fatality, time-related injury risk, and a standardized metric climbing difficulty scale are also defined. The medical commission of the UIAA recommends the use of the described criteria and scores for future research in mountaineering and climbing sports in order to enable robust and comprehensive interstudy comparisons and epidemiological analysis.
From 1981 through 1986, 43631 climbers registered for climbs in the Grand Teton National Park, USA. There were 108 climbing accidents. The accident incidence was 2.5 accidents per 1000 climbers per year, or 5.6 accidents per 10000 climber-hours. There were 23 fatal accidents and 25 fatalities. Mountaineering appears to be a more hazardous activity than rock climbing; travel over snow or ice-covered terrain accounted for high numbers of accidents, climber errors, and fatalities. Effective use of proper equipment (ice axes and helmets), climber experience, self-reliance in difficult situations, and appreciation for the dangers involved in mixed (rock and snow) climbing are all preventive factors that can decrease accidents and injuries among climbers.