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by Neal Rogers
January 7, 2017
An extensive, year-long medical study into overuse and traumatic injuries among professional and amateur racers has drawn nearly 400 participants in just three weeks — and the enrollment period has been extended to January 15, said Dr. Chris Stockburger, a former elite athlete who is now an orthopedic surgeon at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis.
The study is both retrospective, investigating past injuries, while also prospective, tracking current injuries via a monthly email survey among professional and elite amateur racers. Thus far, Stockburger said 85% of the participants are male, and 15% female. Eight percent are professional cyclists, with 26% Cat. 1-2 racers, 18% Cat. 3 racers, 14% Cat. 4 racers, and 21% from the masters [or veterans] category.
The survey is open to competitive men and women who are road cyclists (minimum of Category 4) aged 18 and older; ability to complete the survey in English is required. It can be completed on a smartphone.
Stockburger is pursuing several avenues to drive enrollment in the study, such as through governing bodies, riders’ unions, and team management. “The most important thing I want to emphasize is that my goal with the study is to get data on traumatic and overuse injuries, and get a sense for athletes concerns,” he told CyclingTips, adding that he hopes to provide all interested stakeholders with unbiased data to use for education and improved safety.
“Whether advocating for barriers in the last 3km, or requiring helmets during training, or requiring documentation of a standard return to training, and racing protocol after concussion, I don’t really know what the best targets are,” he said. “I also hope that a simple digital survey can be a proof of concept that an injury registry can be organized and helpful. With athletes’ training and racing decentralized, a self-reported digital survey may be the only feasible way to monitor injuries.”