Comparison of Shotokan Karate Injuries against Injuries in other Martial Arts and Select NCAA Contact Sports

Authors: John-David Swanson, Jacquelynn Morrissey, Adam Barragan

Corresponding Author:
John-David Swanson, Ph.D.
Department of Biology and Biomedical Sciences,
Salve Regina University,
100 Ochre Point Ave,
Newport, RI 02840
jd.swanson@salve.edu
401-3413165

John-David Swanson is an Associate Professor and Interim Chair of the Department of Biology and Biomedical Sciences at Salve Regina University. A long time Shotokan Karate Practitioner he is the Director of both the National Collegiate Karate Association and the East Coast Collegiate Karate Union.

Comparison of Shotokan karate Injuries against Injuries in other Martial Arts and Select NCAA Contact Sports

ABSTRACT
United States Collegiate Shotokan karate clubs have historically played a vital role in the spread of the art of Shotokan karate. Additionally, Karate being included in the 2020 Olympics is expected to afford an increase in participation. In recent years, however, there has been an increase in risk management policies at universities to protect the liability of the school and increase the safety of the students who participate in any kind of athletic activity. While these policies are important, they vary depending on the type of sport or activity, resulting in different athletic activities being categorized into various categories based on their perceived risk. Shotokan karate is often placed into the high-risk category, with resulting policies being implemented in such a way as to make the day-to-day running of a Shotokan karate Club difficult to impossible. Interestingly, there is very little evidence that Shotokan karate is a high-risk sport and is deserving of the policies and regulations that it is often subjected to. To date, current risk assessments for injuries in Shotokan karate exist but have not been collated and organized in a meaningful way. To this end, using the current available data for injuries in Shotokan karate, this study aims to compare Shotokan karate to other types of martial arts and other collegiate sports, while looking at parameters including, but not limited to, the duration of training and number of days of training per week, to identify the safest ranges and determine ways to help prevent injury. It is hoped that in collating these data collegiate clubs will be able to help college policy makers to reach more informed decisions regarding risk management with respect to this sport.

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