The influence of growth and training loads on injury risk in competitive trampoline gymnasts.

Tejal Sarika Patel, Alex McGregor, Sean Cumming, Karen Williams, Sean Williams

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The adolescent growth spurt and training load have been identified as two risk factors for injury amongst the youth athlete population. Currently, there is limited research exploring the relationship between growth, training load and injury in gymnasts. Twenty-one (8 female) national level, trampoline gymnasts recorded training load and injury for 8-weeks during a build-up to a major competition. Each gymnast’s percentage of predicted adult height (%PAH) was calculated using the Khamis-Roche method and used to define growth spurt status. Training load was calculated using session rate of perceived exertion and analysed as differential loads and as a 7-day exponentially weighted moving average (EWMA7day). There was a significant non-linear association between %PAH and the probability of injury when adjusting for either training load metric (differential load, P=0.015; EWMA7day; P=0.008), with the highest injury risk estimated at ~90% PAH (circa growth spurt). The probability of injury was not significantly associated with differential loads (P=0.856) but significantly increased with increases in EWMA7day training load (RR: 1.88 95% CI: 1.21-2.91, P=0.005). No significant interaction between %PAH, training load and the probability of injury were observed. Data suggests that competitive trampoline gymnasts are at an increased risk of injury during the adolescent growth spurt or with higher weekly training loads. Coaches should be educated and encouraged to identify periods of rapid growth, specifically by identifying the growth status using %PAH and flagging gymnasts between 85 and 96% of PAH as circa-growth spurt. Similarly, coaches and gymnasts should monitor training load, particularly internal load, to reduce the risk of injury.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Sports Sciences
Early online date3 Jul 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 3 Jul 2021

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