Introduction: Despite the popularity of dragon boat racing there is little information on typical injuries and health conditions prevalent in crews. Methods: Posture, anthropometry, joint range of motion, muscular strength and endurance, and pre-training anxiety were assessed in a female dragon boat crew. Paddling-associated and historical musculoskeletal injuries, health conditions and training session details were recorded prior to physical assessment. Musculoskeletal pain and stiffness were rated using a 0-10 Likert scale. Anxiety was assessed with the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory. Results: Twenty two female paddlers volunteered to participate, 27.3 % of who were breast cancer survivors. Cardiovascular conditions and controlled hypertension were reported by 22.7% of participants; osteoarthritis and bursitis/tendinitis by 40.9%. The most common injuries were those to the lumbar spine (40.9%), shoulder (45.5%), knee (45.4%) and wrist (31.8%). The most commonly occurring sites of paddling- related pain were the hip (67%), the shoulder (60%), the neck (50%), and the knee (20 %) with 55.6% of bursitis/tendinitis paddling-related. The shoulder was the most restricted joint (right shoulder, -3.5 ± 6 cm; left shoulder, -2.6 ± 7 cm); the psoas was the weakest muscle group (0 – 5 manual muscle test grade, right, 3.5 ± 0.8; left, 3.6 ± 0.6). Twenty five percent of paddlers reported high measures of State and Trait anxiety. The number of health conditions and injuries were positively correlated (r = 0.689) with Trait (p = 0.002) but not State anxiety (p = 0.06). Discussion: Dragon boat paddlers report a high prevalence of historical and sport-related injuries which may affect training or competition. Shoulder and hip pain may be due to poor paddling biomechanics. Muscle imbalances or weakness may contribute to injuries and also affect paddling technique. Conclusion: Poor paddling technique and higher levels of Trait anxiety may contribute to increased risk of musculoskeletal injury, re-injury and performance-related stress. There is a need for individual musculoskeletal screening and interventions to improve strength, flexibility, paddling technique, and to reduce stress appraisals.
Journal of Fitness Research / Vol. 3, No. 2, pp.3-12