Medical Problems of Performing ArtistsMedical Problems of Performing Artists

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Incidence of Injuries in Female University-Level Modern Dancers and the Effectiveness of a Screening Program in Altering Injury Patterns

Bonnie J. Weigert, Mark Erickson
From: Medical Problems of Performing Artists: Volume 22 Number 2: Page 52 (June 2007)

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Abstract: Little information is available about the frequency and type of injuries that occur in modern dancers at a university level. Modern techniques present varied physical demands to dancers, and injuries within the academic setting can be particularly detrimental, both academically and artistically. Screening programs are widely promoted throughout the sports and dance medicine literature as a means for preventing these injuries. The goal of this study was to determine the incidence and types of injuries that occur in a university modern dance program. Subsequently, as deficits in strength, flexibility, and balance may be identified as risk factors for these injuries and addressed in a routine screening process, the second goal was to determine if dancers who participated in the screening process were at lower risk for injury. Injury characteristics in dance majors (n = 30) were examined over two semesters by looking at onsite clinic data, as well as subjects¿ self-reports of injuries, the number of days they had to miss or modify class due to injury, and the degree to which pain limited their participation. At the beginning of the second semester, half of the subjects were randomly selected to participate in a screening program. The injury rate for all subjects was over 30% for each semester by clinic visits and 67% for the first semester and 77% for the second semester by self-report. At the end of the second semester, there was no difference between the screened and unscreened groups with respect to clinic visits, days of class missed or modified due to injury, or pain scores. This study therefore suggests that modern dancers at a university level do have a high incidence of injury, but this rate was not decreased by a screening program.

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