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Instrument-specific Rates of Upper-extremity Injuries in Music Students

Danelle Cayea, Ralph Manchester
From: Medical Problems of Performing Artists: Volume 13 Number 1: Page 19 (March 1998)

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Abstract: The instrument-specific injury rates of students at a university-level music school were calculated from data collected over 14 academic years, 1982-83 through 1995-96. During this period, 513 performance majors presented to their university's health service with performance-related upper-extremity injuries. The overall injury rate (number of injuries per 100 performance major student years) was 8.3. The instruments were divided into low-, medium-, and high-rate tertiles based on their associated injury rates. Instruments in the low tertile had a rate that fell between 0 and 5.9. These instruments included all the brass instruments, as well as the oboe and bassoon. Medium-injury-rate instruments had a rate between 6.0 and 11.9 and included all the bowed string instruments, the saxophone, clarinet, organ, flute, and percussion. The high-injury-rate instruments (12.0 to 18.0) included the piano, guitar, and harp. Women had a higher overall injury rate than men (8.9 vs 5.9). Since there have been no studies to date that have examined the instrument-specific injury rates of a broad range of instruments, some broad comparisons are made with studies that examined injury-associated prevalence among groups of instruments.

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