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Title: Injury incidence and severity in professional ballet dancers over three years
Author: Allen, Nick
Awarding Body: University of Wolverhampton
Current Institution: University of Wolverhampton
Date of Award: 2014
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Although the benefits of exercise are well documented, the risk of injury as a result of exercise is also documented. The undertaking of exercise in the form of sport or dance carries a risk of injury. This risk is increased in the professional ranks where increased intensity of exercise coupled with greater exposure periods are noted. Two published systematic reviews of the literature pertaining to musculoskeletal injuries and pain in dancers (up to 2008) indicated that there are still major scientific limitations and biases in the literature reviewed and indicated the need for explicit criteria on injury definition and methods of injury reporting. The reviews did comment on the evidence that musculoskeletal injury is an important issue for all dancers and that there is preliminary evidence that comprehensive injury prevention and management strategies may reduce injuries. The purpose of this single cohort observational study was to document injury incidence and severity in professional ballet dancers over three years including any changes as a result of changes within their medical management. While it is recognised that a randomised control trial would be advocated for an interventional study, due to the demands of this high performance environment this was not feasible. As such, steps were taken to improve the reporting of findings through the utilisation of the Strengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology (STROBE) Statement. To date there are two publications in peer reviewed journals as a result of the data collected in this study. In the absence of international consensus on injury data collection in dance the methodology employed in this study was consistent with the International Consensus Statements on injury data collection from sport. Although the incidence of injuries in Year 1 was lower than that in other sports, the results were higher than other studies that have been reported in dance. The reason for this may be due to the use of a more encompassing injury definition. In response to the data and details obtained through the injury audit process changes in the comprehensive medical management of the dancers were implemented. The pre-participation screening was extended and the individual conditioning programmes were structured using the developed Hybrid Intervention Model. The result of the injury auditing indicated a significant reduction in injury incidence in the Year 2, with a further reduction in Year 3. These findings support the results of the systematic reviews in that there is growing evidence that comprehensive injury prevention and management strategies may reduce injuries in dance and that in the absence of stronger evidence there is a strong recommendation for those charged with caring for professional dancers to implement comprehensive medical management programmes.
Supervisor: Wyan, Matt Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Ballet ; dance ; injury ; epidemiology ; chronic ; overuse ; traumatic ; screening ; conditioning programme