Epidemiology of surfing accidents in Brazil

  • Steiman e col.
High relevance study
Full article

Location: Nupaf – Sports Center Federal University of Santa Catarina

Source: Rev Bras Med Esporte _ Vol. 6, No 1 – Jan / Feb, 2000

Objective: To determine the incidence, type, severity, and location of acute and chronic traumatic and nontraumatic injuries related to surfing in Brazil and to relate them to age, sex, degree of experience, category of practitioner, and conditions of surfing. and propose preventive measures to avoid them.

Methods: retrospective epidemiological survey, seeking to characterize and describe the incidence of traumatic and non-traumatic acute and chronic injuries. The type and anatomical location of the lesion are in accordance with the international classification of the World Health Organization. Amateur, professional and recreational surfers were part of the sample.

Results: 930 practitioners reported 927 injuries that required medical attention or prevented surfing for one or more days (over a period of three years). The population included 67.5% recreational surfers, 29.4% amateurs and 3.1% professionals, most males (95.3%); 56.6% have practiced the sport for over five years. The average age was 23.7 years. Most injuries were traumatic in nature (82.5%) and occurred during recreational surfing (96.2%). The most common injuries were lacerations (44%), bruises (16.9%) and musculoskeletal injuries (15.5%); 38% of the lesions reached the lower limbs, 17.9% the upper limbs and 15.6% the head. The time away from surfing due to injury was: 54.2% up to 7 days, 20.7% between 7 and 14 days, 10.1% between 14 and 30 days and 14.8% over 30 days. In this sample, the incidence of injuries was 2.47 for every 1,000 days of surfing. This incidence was lower than that obtained in other studies. Despite the high incidence of traumatic injuries in this study, the high prevalence of recurrent low back pain (28.4%), neck pain (27.3%), shoulder pain (20.5%) and knee pain (12, 5%) suggests that repeated stress injuries are a common problem among surfers.

Conclusion: The relatively low incidence of injuries, added to the fact that in more than half of them (54%) time off was no more than seven days, demonstrates the low risk of disability associated with surfing. Fractures (42.8%), dislocations (27.5%) and ligament strains (28%) were responsible for the longest periods of withdrawal (more than 30 days).

Despite the low incidence of sports injuries, with the growing number of younger surfers attracted by sociocultural factors and the creation of countless “surf schools”, and the introduction of surfing as a sport in physical education classes , preventive campaigns aimed at reducing traumatic and overuse injuries should be initiated and introduced in schools15 and disseminated by the specific media.

SID opinion: 🤙🤙🤙🤙🤙. Brazilian Epidemiological Study, one of the first studies conducted in the country. It illustrates the wide variety of injuries that can occur to the surfing practitioner.

SID Tip: Surfer’s traumatic injuries are of various kinds. From minor bruises to extensive lacerations and severe concussions. The beach and sea environment is remote, so knowing the flow of health support and preventive methods is the best way to stay healthy and safe.