April, 2013

Combative Sports Canada


An epidemiological study on injuries sustained in kickboxing, low kick and K1

A six year study into the injuries sustained in amateur combative sports in Canada

Combative Sports Canada (CSC) formally The Council of Amateur Sport Kickboxing (CASK) is an oversight committee meant to regulate and improve the quality of sanctioned combative sporting events in Canada. This sanctioned self governing body regulates the combative sports of kickboxing, K1, low kick and as of the spring of 2012, amateur mixed martial arts.

Up to this date, no complete comprehensive study has been conducted into injuries occurring in Canadian amateur combative sports.  Studies of this nature are useful in increasing the safety and aiding in the prevention of injury. 

From April 2006 until December 2011, CSC/CASK medical personnel collected data retrospectively through post bout injury evaluation forms.  These forms were filled out by event physicians as well as Certified Athletic Therapists.

During this time period, there were 88 sanctioned amateur events across Canada in kickboxing, K1 and low kick.

The goal of this study was to observe injury incidence rates to better understand concerns and improve sporting regulations.

In 1,246 bouts, there occurred 357 injuries, an injury rate of 28.6%.  The injuries were divided into the following regions and classifications: Head/Neck/Face, Upper Extremity, Lower Extremity, Chest/Abdomen/Pelvis, and Concussion/Head Injury.  Injuries were classified as: soft tissue, sprain, strain, fracture, laceration, internal injury, concussion and ‘other.’

Injuries were broken down into the three categories of Pre Novice (42.3%), Novice (48.2%) and open class athletes (9.5%).  During this six year study, full contact kickboxing sustained 47% of the injuries, followed by K1 (28.6) and low kick (24.4%).

Of the overall injuries, 228 occurrences or 63.8% were injuries sustained to the head, neck and face region (lacerations and epistaxes were the most prevalent). A review of available literature revealed this to be a consistent observation over the same disciplines at the professional level.

The injury of secondary incidence was that of head injury or concussion (58 occurrences or 16.2%), this was also similar throughout the literature.  Injuries to the chest, abdomen and pelvis (7.2%), lower extremity (6.4%), and upper extremity (6.2%) were also incurred.

While the incidence of facial lacerations and epistaxes are deemed acceptable given the nature of combative sports, the incidence of concussion spurred a proposed follow-up study on concussion incidence. The current ongoing study is looking at the discipline, level of experience, round, part of the ring; type of blow and to what part of the head.  A parallel study is looking at weight loss its effect of pre and post bout vitals as well as performance and concussion episodes.

The Certified Athletic Therapists affiliated with CSC/CASK, have had a significant degree of feedback into the safety standards and rules and regulations of these sports.  This includes the implementation of pre and post bout physicals performed by a medical team, implementing emergency action plans for local, provincial and national events, feedback into rules and regulations such as: 3 unanswered blows to the head or body resulting in an automatic standing 8 count, if the head is snapped back or sideways more than 45 degrees, this is also a standing 8 count and 3 standing 8 counts automatically result in disqualification of the athlete – Referee stops contest (safety).  During the 1,246 bouts, there were a total of 318 RSC (safety).  This is 25.5% of the event bouts.   Our study revealed that over 90 percent of the bouts which were stopped during afety reasons, no injury was sustained.

C. Gus Kandilas is the Sports Medicine Director for Combative Sports Canada He is a Certified Athletic Therapist and an Osteopathic Manual Practitioner.  Gus is in private practice in Burlington and  a professor of over 25 years at York University.

Carolyn Zepf is a Certified Athletic Therapist with the Canadian Athletic Therapist Association,  she is currently attending the Canadian College of Osteopathy to attend her DOMP and is the owner and operator of Ultimate Sports Therapy.

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