by Jenna Bloom
When you’re watching Wimbledon, have you ever wondered how busy the doctors and physiotherapists are behind the scenes?
Well, McCirde et. al. (2016) wanted to determine the rate of injuries that occurred during Wimbledon, which could assist scientists to eventually develop measures to prevent injuries. (3)
They study found that there were 700 injuries over the 10 years of Wimbledon (2003 to 2012), with a total of 12 212 sets played. The overall injury rate was 20.7 injuries per 1000 sets played. (3) McCirde et. al. (2016) observed that males had lower injury rates than females despite males playing more sets. (3) However, Sallis et. al. (2001) found that there was no significant difference in injury rate between females and males across seven different sports including tennis. (6) Differences in injury rates between sexes could be due to woman having higher oestrogen levels, more fat, more flexibility and less muscle mass. (5)
Figure 1 indicates the percentage of each injury type sustained over the 10 years of Wimbledon. This figure shows that there was a large percentage of injuries sustained before Wimbledon, indicating the demanding nature of a professional tennis players’ season. (3)
As seen in Figure 2 and 3, the most common injuries in both genders were in the shoulder, knee and lumbar spine. Groin, hip, heel and ankle injuries were more common in males than females, who suffered more wrist and foot injuries. From this we can see that in both genders, injuries in the lower extremities were most common. (3)
Different tennis court surfaces have different properties. For example, on a grass court the ball bounces less and the rallies are shorter. (3) According to Nigg et. al. (1987) playing on various surfaces could be associated with injuries of the lower extremity. They further stated that overuse injuries have become more prevalent since the increased use of artificial surfaces. More research should be done to investigate the association between tennis court surfaces and injuries. (4)
Research determining injury rates in tennis is extremely limited and often has variable outcomes. It is extremely important to determine injury rates in tennis players as it can improve knowledge regarding player care and can lead to the reduction of injuries. So next time you watch Wimbledon, remember – it’s not all just strawberries and cream!
- Dharsaun, A., Dharsaun, A., Patel, N. and Patel, N., 2021. These Are The 5 Best Serve Techniques In The History Of Tennis – Playo. [online] Playo. Available at: <https://blog.playo.co/5-best-serving-techniques-tennis-history/> [Accessed 10 April 2021].
- Gordon, A., 2021. Science Explains Why Female Tennis Players Can Serve As Fast As Men. [online] Slate Magazine. Available at: <https://slate.com/culture/2014/09/sabine-lisicki-record-serve-science-explains-why-female-tennis-players-can-serve-as-fast-as-men.html> [Accessed 10 April 2021].
- McCurdie, I., Smith, S., Bell, P. and Batt, M., 2016. Tennis injury data from The Championships, Wimbledon, from 2003 to 2012. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 51(7), pp.607-611.
- Nigg, B. and Yeadon, M., 1987. Biomechanical aspects of playing surfaces. Journal of Sports Sciences, 5(2), pp.117-145.
- Robert H. Shmerling, M., 2021. The gender gap in sports injuries – Harvard Health Blog. [online] Harvard Health Blog. Available at: <https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/the-gender-gap-in-sports-injuries-201512038708> [Accessed 13 April 2021].
- Sallis, R., Jones, K., Sunshine, S., Smith, G. and Simon, L., 2001. Comparing Sports Injuries in Men and Women. International Journal of Sports Medicine, 22(6), pp.420-423.