Back Injury of South African Female Gymnasts
This study has employed a prospective testing program which was followed by a retrospective descriptive questionnaire-based study design. It was structured in this manner in order to establish an injury profile in both of the current and previous seasons and another one for the training program.
There were 20 registered gymnastics clubs located in Gauteng. Seven of the twenty clubs were the only ones who offer a high quality of programs in terms of performance. It is only within these seven clubs that the respondents of this study have been chosen. However, only three of the seven clubs have allowed and agreed to partake in this research since the remaining four clubs do not have their current elite gymnasts.
Respondents of the study were selected based on their age and training hours. Female artistic gymnasts who were born between 1990 and 2000 are the main participants. These gymnasts should be spending, at least 15 hours of training each week for a minimum of three years. Other respondents include the retired gymnasts who have already competed in the elite level while they were still active in the sports. They have been included in order to obtain information regarding the reasons behind their retirement and radiological data which were also compared to the data gathered from the current active gymnasts. The total number of the retired gymnasts is ten and each has filled a questionnaire. It was also made sure by the researcher that the data used in this study was provided with consent by the gymnasts who were participating in the study.
Before conducting the initial study, the questionnaires were sent to gymnastics experts who include ten gymnasts who are not participating in this study and another two gymnastics coaches. The questionnaires were also checked and validated by a biokineticist and sports physician who works closely with gymnasts. This checking and verification of questionnaires was made in line with the content and construct validity as stated by Sim and Wright (2000).
In the pilot study, which was conducted at the onset of the competition and was three months before the main study, the questionnaires were given to the participants. After a week, the completed questionnaires were sent back to the same respondents for the purpose of checking the reliability of the answers. When it comes to the X-ray test, it was taken by three radiographers who follow similar procedures for each of the view such as antero-posterior view, oblique view, and lateral view. Gathered data were analyzed through the use of a computerized statistical program which is the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) version 12. Descriptive analysis was obtained through means and standard deviations while tests of significance were achieved with inferential statistics. The level of significance used in the inferential statistics was set at 5%.
Results of the study have identified that injuries, which commonly result to radiological changes, were generally caused by the training and the competition proper itself. Prevalence of injuries is very common in the ankle which has recorded 16.7% of the entire population of the participants. It was followed by the injuries occurring in the elbow. It can also be