A musculoskeletal injury profile of league tennis players in the northern eThekwini region
Benporath, Michael Craig
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Background: Tennis is one of the most popular sports globally with over 75 million players around the world. Most studies have focused on junior or elite level players although the majority of players around the world are presumed to be recreational/non-professional players. To date, limited research is available pertaining to the epidemiology of tennis related musculoskeletal in non-professional league tennis players in South Africa. This study aimed to determine the profile of musculoskeletal injuries amongst league tennis players in the northern eThekwini region. Methods: This was a quantitative, cross-sectional, descriptive study utilizing a self-administered questionnaire, developed specifically for this research utilizing an expert group and pilot study. The questionnaire contained sections on demographics, tennis history, training and nutrition, court surface and equipment as well as a section on tennis related musculoskeletal injuries. Risk factors for injury were first tested using chi square tests in the case of categorical variables, and t-tests in the case of continuous variables. In order to assess the relationship between injury and potential risk factors for injury, a binary logistic regression using backward selection based on likelihood ratios was used. Odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals of the variables remaining in the model at the end were reported. A p value <0.05 was used to indicate statistical significance. Results: Eighty league tennis players responded giving a response rate of 70.16%. The period prevalence, and the point prevalence of tennis related musculoskeletal injury was 68.75% and 36.25% respectively. A predominance of injuries to the upper extremity were recorded (49%) compared to the lower extremity (27.5%) and the back and trunk (23.5%). The elbow was the most common anatomical site of injury (21.4%) followed by the shoulder (19.4%), the lumbar spine (17.3%) and the knee (8.2%). Age was considered to be a risk factor for injury (p=0.049) as older players in the study (49.32 (17.547) years of age) were less likely to contract an injury than younger players (48.38 (13.210) years of age). The likelihood of injury decreased with a higher Body Mass Index (p=0.042). The relationship between consumption of spirit alcohol and injury was significant (p=0.043). Ex-smokers had a higher chance of contracting an injury (p=0.013). It was also found that those who cycled weekly were less likely to contract an injury (p=0.040). Conclusion: The results concur with other studies on recreational/non-professional tennis players and add insight into risk factors predisposing this population to injury. Health care practitioners need to understand the risk factors for injury in this population so that players can be better managed. Using the results of the study, an injury prevention strategy such as a strength and conditioning program, needs to be implemented with the goal to reduce or prevent common injuries in this population of players.