Online Program

"The Association Of Long Term Martial Arts/Karate Practice And The Development Of Overuse Injuries Among US Karate Instructors”

Monday, November 2, 2015

Alex Sternberg, DrPH, MPH, ScD, MSc, Dep. Orthopedic Surgery and Rehab Medicine, Downstate Medical Center-SUNY College of Medicine School of Public Health, Brooklyn, NY
Michael A. Joseph, PhD, MPH, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health at SUNY Downstate Medical Center, Brooklyn, NY
Mira GriceSheff, PhD, MS, EOHS, Downstate Medical Center-SUNY College of Medicine School of Public Health, Brooklyn, NY
Judie LaRosa, PhD, RN, Downstate Medical Center-SUNY College of Medicine School of Public Health, Brooklyn, NY

Injuries associated with long-term karate training among US karate instructors have not been adequately studied. This investigation sought to determine the prevalence of training related injuries, the affect of the training style on injuries and the role of participating in a health and fitness course on the development of injuries.


            Nine hundred and seventy six answers, from an Internet based survey of US karate instructors, were analyzed.  The survey asked about years of training, years of teaching, age when training began, age, BMI, style practiced, and if they ever had any non-tournament, non-trauma related injuries.


Sixty-six percent of karate instructors reported a potentially career ending injury sustained during their career.

Years of training had a significant association with developing injuries, with the odds of developing injuries more than twice as great among those who trained over 40 years when compared with those who have only been training 10-19 years. OR=2.26, 95% CI (1.37, 3.75). The odds of developing knee injuries among the goju practitioners was four times as great when compared with practitioners of the other styles OR=4.17 95% CI (1.64, 10.58). Although Shotokan practitioners reported the most hip injuries this finding was not significant.

 Our analysis did not show a statistical relationship between participating in health and fitness instructor’s courses and developing injuries.


Long term karate training is positively associated with the development of orthopedic injuries. Practitioners may need to develop alternate training methods in order to avoid such injuries in the future.

Learning Areas:

Occupational health and safety

Learning Objectives:
Define the association of overuse injuries with long term training among US karate instructors. Describe the type of injuries reported by a sample of instructors answering a national injury survey. Identify the impact of the style of training on the development of specific types of injuries among US karate instructors.

Keyword(s): Occupational Health and Safety, Behavioral Research

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have over 40 years experience in the teaching and development of the sport of karate. Presently, I am the education committee chairman of USA Karate (a member of the US olympic Committee). This abstract describes my recent dissertation topic in Environmental and Occupational Health at the Downstate Medical Center-School of Public Health.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.