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Body Composition and Ballet Injuries: A Preliminary Study

Emily Twitchett, Manuela Angioi, Giorgos S. Metsios, Yiannis Koutedakis, Matthew Wyon
From: Medical Problems of Performing Artists: Volume 23 Number 3: Page 93 (September 2008)

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Abstract: To date, the effects of body composition on injury occurrence and healing times in dancers have received limited scientific attention. The aim of the current study was to determine possible associations between somatotype, percent body fat, and self-reported injury characteristics in dance students. Forty-two full-time ballet students (11 male, 31 female) from two vocational dance schools volunteered for the study. The Heath-Carter protocol and Siri equation were adopted to calculate somatotype and percent body fat (%BF), respectively. Injury types, together with the time taken to recover from injury, were assessed using a recall injury questionnaire. Results revealed that the sample was classified as balanced-mesomorph somatotype (endomorphy -- mesomorphy -- ectomorphy = 3.4±0.9 -- 3.9±1.4 -- 3.2±1.2). Ectomorphy was a strong predictor of the number of acute injuries sustained (F1,36 = 5.4, p = 0.026); these parameters also revealed a significant negative correlation (r = ¿0.37, p = 0.016). Significant negative correlations were observed between the dancers¿ total time off due to injury and %BF (r = ¿0.31, p = 0.048) and between the total time off resulting from acute injury and both %BF (r = ¿0.32, p = 0.04) and ectomorphy (r = ¿0.42, p = 0.005). The number of overuse injuries sustained and time off due to overuse injury also were correlated with mesomorphy (r = ¿0.38, p = 0.015 and r = ¿0.33, p = 0.032, respectively). It was concluded that high ectomorphy ratings, low %BF values, and low mesomorphy ratings are linked to injury. More relevant research is required on dancers from different genres.

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