A study commissioned by BWF under the Global Health Badminton project has been published in the Asia-Pacific Journal of Sports Medicine, Arthroscopy, Rehabilitation and Technology.
The study, conducted by Niels Christian Kaldau, Stewart Kerr (both former international badminton players, coaches and healthcare professionals), Steve McCaig and Per Holmich, is titled ’Training and injuries among world elite junior badminton players’ and aims to provide a reference for long-term study of injuries in badminton. There being little published research on injury among elite badminton players, this study is expected to be a first step towards a comprehensive understanding of injuries in badminton.
The study was conducted at the BWF World Junior Championships 2018, with 164 out of the total of 436 players taking part in it. The two main objectives of the study were to report significant injuries among the best junior elite players, and to determine any correlation between injuries and player demographics, anthropometrics (height, weight and playing arm dominance) and weekly training load.
A detailed questionnaire was prepared based on the World Olympic Association Musculoskeletal Health Global Questionnaire, with suitable modifications. Among the important discoveries of the study was that 48 per cent of the 164 participants reported one or more significant injury, with common locations being knee, ankle and lower back. Almost 50 per cent of the participants had sustained an injury that lasted around 90 days; in 34 per cent of these cases the player had lasting limitations or pain. The number of significant injuries did not differ between male and female players, or Asian and non-Asian players. Injury durations lasted between 30 and 1,800 days, with the average (90 days) being the same for males and females; 43 per cent of injuries occurred with gradual onset and 53 per cent with sudden onset.
The authors also note that stress fractures may be a serious underestimated problem in badminton. Players from Asian countries reported a higher number of stress fractures. Interestingly, it appeared that high training volume did not necessarily lead to higher risk of significant injury apart from stress fractures.
The authors caution of the worryingly high number of significant injuries, and that a notable portion of these are stress fractures, which are indication of overuse.