The EWS has published the largest study into mountain bike injuries ever conducted
today and it’s packed with great info about the dangers of the sport we all love.
It’s a two-part study with the Race Event Medical Study taken from medical staff at 10 rounds of the EWS and the Rider Health Survey done via a questionnaire of riders who race at all levels of enduro, with the majority at domestic, amateur levels. It’s a pretty hefty document so we’ve picked out the six key stats you should be aware of:1. Most injuries happen outside of racing
In the Rider Health Survey, of the 1234 injuries that were recorded, 823 (66.7%) were sustained during training, with the rest during race practice or racing itself. Of course, riders spend a lot more time training than racing so you may expect this but it does highlight the need for greater First Aid skills among riders. After all, you’re twice as likely to get injured at the times when there are no trained medical staff on hand to help. 2. Women get hurt more, but men get hurt worse in the EWS
In the EWS, about 12% of women picked up an injury compared to around 9% of men. However, when men crashed, they generally got injured more severely, with an average of 13.2 days recovery time which is more than double the 6.4 days for women.
This holds true for the Rider Health Survey too where 55% of women recorded an injury at some point while riding compared to just over 40% of men.
At this point, we should point out that women represented about 10% of the contributors to both studies so the men’s stats are far more likely to be accurate.3. Shoulders and Collarbones are the most commonly injured body parts
It comes as very little surprise but shoulders and collarbones are the most commonly injured body part in mountain biking. In EWS races 13.3% of all injuries are to this part of the body. Shoulder and clavicle injuries also required the greatest number of days to recover from - 49.2 days being the mean recovery time.
In the Rider Health Survey, shoulders and clavicle injuries were also very common, accounting for a quarter of all significant injuries.4. We could still improve on how we deal with concussions
Overall concussion rates were low both in the EWS study (0.6%) and the Rider Survey (4%), however, we could still improve how we deal in the aftermath of concussions. In the EWS race study, 58% of riders did not follow SCAT-5 protocol
and nearly a third of riders (29%) returned to racing after a concussion.
In the Rider Health Study, 25% of riders continued riding after a concussion, 74% of riders said they had not heard of the SCAT concussion assessment, and 63% of riders said they did not follow a return to play (riding) protocol post-concussion. Female riders were three times more likely to suffer a concussion than men. You can read the Concussion Pocket Guide that the EWS provides riders here
and the Concussion Pocket Guide that the EWS provides for Organisers and Medics here
. 5. Rocky trails produce the most injuries
Rocky trails accounted for 60% of all injuries in the EWS, on top of this, 56% shoulder/clavicle and 66% of hand fractures, occurred during falls, on rocky stages. The survey recommends that riders wear more protection on rocky stages and that additional medical provision should be targeted around rocky stages by race organisers.6. Enduro is actually quite safe
If all the above feels a bit doom and gloom, don’t worry, enduro is actually quite safe. In the EWS medical study, only 8.9% of EWS riders were injured during races. This compares to 24% in mountain biking during the Rio 2016 Olympic Summer Games. The EWS is most dangerous for first timers, as almost a third of race event injuries occurred to riders who have only raced one EWS.
The Rider Health Survey calculated that there are 0.15 significant injuries per rider per year, meaning a rider picks up a significant injury roughly every seven years. Another comparison given in the study is from rugby, a sport that has previously reported 1.8 injuries per player per season.