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Different Strategies for Sports Injury Prevention in an America's Cup Yachting Crew

HADALA, MICHAL1,2; BARRIOS, CARLOS2

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: August 2009 - Volume 41 - Issue 8 - p 1587-1596
doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e31819c0de7
Basic Sciences

Purpose: To analyze the effectiveness in reducing the number of sport injuries after application of different strategies of preventive physiotherapy during competition periods in an America's Cup yachting crew.

Methods: A prospective physiotherapy intervention study during competition periods for three seasons was conducted on an America's Cup yachting race crew of 30 professional sailors. In the first two acts (2004), athletes did not receive any preventive physiotherapy. In the two acts celebrated in 2005, preventive intervention (phase 1) consisted of stretching exercises before the yacht race and preventative taping. During the four acts corresponding to the 2006 season, the physiotherapy program was implemented adding articular mobilization before competition, ice baths after competition, and kinesiotaping (phase 2). In the last act and the Louis Vuitton Cup (2007), a recovery program with "core stability" exercises, postcompetition stretching exercises, and 12 h of compressive clothing were added (phase 3).

Results: In the preintervention phase (2004), the rate of injured sailors/competition day was 1.66, decreasing to 0.60 in 2007 (phase 3). The number of athletes with more than one injury was significantly reduced from 53% (8 of 15) to 6.5% (2 of 12). In the preintervention period, mastmen, grinders, and bowmen showed a rate of 2.88 injuries per competition day. After phase 3, this group only suffered 0.35 injuries per competition day.

Conclusions: The implementation of a program of preventive physiotherapy decreased the risk of injuries suffered during competition by an America's Cup yacht crew.

1Department of Physiology and 2Orthopaedics and Trauma Unit, Department of Surgery, University of Valencia, Valencia, SPAIN

Address for correspondence: Michal Hadala, M.Sc., Department of Surgery, University of Valencia, Avda. Blasco Ibanez 17, Valencia 46021, Spain; E-mail: michalhadala@wp.pl.

Submitted for publication June 2008.

Accepted for publication January 2009.

© 2009 American College of Sports Medicine