EWS Research on Injuries Published in International Journal of Sports Medicine

Jan 12, 2021
by Alicia Leggett  
Not the happiest of Birthdays for Mark Scott on stage 1

A study of more than 2,000 enduro racers, originally released by the EWS in June 2019, has been published in the International Journal of Sports Medicine. The study was conducted by the Edinburgh Napier University over three years using information from the 2017 and 2018 race seasons, and it was funded by the EWS to understand how to make enduro competition safer. It is the largest-ever study of injuries in mountain biking.

Pinkbike covered some key takeaways from the study in 2019, including that shoulder and collarbone injuries are the most common injuries in enduro and that concussion rates are relatively low, alongside the more concerning finding that nearly a third of riders return to racing immediately after a concussion.

The study led EWS organizers to create a Concussion Pocket Guide for riders and another version for race support staff.

The International Journal of Sports Medicine article is available for free here.


  • 77 0
 My own personal study can confirm, crashing hurts more when not on video.
  • 25 2
 Can also confirm rocks are hard. Not sure about trees though. Anyone have some good info there?
  • 23 0
 @friendlyfoe: I can certainly confirm trees and rocks both feel rather hard at high speeds.
  • 44 0
 @friendlyfoe: some new datapoints are expected this Friday.
  • 18 0
 @friendlyfoe: In my own experience, trees jump out in front of you and somehow don't move when you hit them.
  • 3 0
 It is only worth it when it is on camera. Smile
  • 5 0
 @michaeldunn05: I can also attest to boulders doing that. Riding on a narrow trail minding your own business and bam, out nowhere a boulder jumps out and burst your knee. They're not very nice.. Hehehe
  • 6 0
 @michaeldunn05: You just need to hit them harder...
  • 5 5
 @friendlyfoe: Depending on the speed and location it is often hard to differentiate between rocks and trees as you're bouncing around down the hill like a hoe on santa
  • 12 0
 I can also confirm that after the age of 35, humans no longer bounce when they hit the ground.
  • 2 0
 @jklufts: Yes yes, wood rocks and hard packed dirt landing from Above & Beyond .
  • 3 0
 @dan23dan23: no more sat on the floor laughing wondering what happened and how close that was to high speed death, more clutching something and wondering if I can still do my job in a cast no matter how slow the crash
  • 1 0
 @friendlyfoe: Yup, pretty hard. Can break wrists easily. Trees and roots.
  • 4 0
 I have found that the spikey parts on pedals leave deep lacerations on areas of the body not covered by shoe.
  • 1 0
 @friendlyfoe: Ones i was a treehugger.
  • 29 2
 So why is EWS/UCI not having riders take a baseline test before every season? This is basic protocol for highschool contact sports, it isn't rocket science, and could even be done remotely. Simple method for screening after a high speed crash.
  • 22 1
 Because liability only increases when the people affected by the safety issue have legal resources with which to hold the profiteers accountable, and circumstances are favorable for lawsuits. Enduro athletes comprise a fleeting group of semi-dedicated athletes, with really a small number at the very top, and thus less commitment as a group to following up on damages they suffer while participating in events designed solely to increase profits to event coordinators and sponsors. Once you have a stable group of athletes, participating under controlled circumstances (including practice), then the lawyers will line up to hold "the sport" accountable. Until then, expect half-measures and efforts to avoid any acknowledgment of risk any greater than when people ride their bikes on personal time. Improvement in protocols is driven by legal liability, not by some great humanistic concern for athlete well-being.
  • 2 0
 I guess riders face great pressure to get back to racing for their sponsors, because their livelyhood depends on it. If possible they will try to manipulate the baseline if at all possible. One can try concentrate less, react a bit slower and have a litle worse memory during the test. One than might be able to hide a (light) concussion.

I have seen a friend having a severe concussion. You can not hide that on the day it happens and maybe the day after that. Then trying might be effictive.

What I want to say: You need to make the athletes value their health more than a single marketable win/success.
  • 14 0
 In 2016 at 46 I was in top form. Sending everything in my way. Had a crash at Killington that almost ended me. Blew my helmut apart, brock the ball and socket of my dominant arm shoulder. The dislocation was so severe I had 4 rotator cuff tears, nuked labrum, severed bicep tendons, severed 2 nerves, and tanked my left scapula off my back.

3 surgeons in a row denied me because of the severity and my age. I finally got a ref. to one of the dudes that works on Red Sox pitchers. He gave me a 30% chance of ever using my arm again, let alone anything athletic. In the 3 months I had to wait before surgery I sank into a vanta black dark place.

November 10, 2016 finally came and I went under for an 8 hour surgery. When they were waking me up the first damn question was "who's the president". I said "FFS put me back down".

Fast forward a couple day and the nerve blocker wore off only to leave me with a paralyzed arm. Paralyzed dominant arm. Go try and wipe your ass with the opposite one.

After 2 month I slowly got back ability to use a few fingers on the dominant and I started PT. Over the next year I did 600 hours of PT at the hospital and another 1000 on my own. I went f*cking mental, determined to make a comeback.

Fast forward to Covid hitting. I got back to 95%!!!. Was able to viking pressing 260 and riding at the level I was day of the accident. The difference? Caution. I don't engage in high consequence stuff any more but I still get after it and holler 'f*ck yeah'.
  • 9 0
 Nice gem from the paper: "Half of all concussions occurred in riders who only ever participated in one EWS race."

Didn't read carefully enough to see what proportion of the average entry field is comprised of virgin riders. That fact significantly changes the meaning of the above statement.
  • 3 1
 The fact that everyone races the same courses as the Pro's has a lot to do with this stat. New racers all jacked up on adrenaline racing blind on some brutal courses, what could go wrong?
  • 1 0
 @salespunk: that could be an explanation if and only if virgin racers make up less than 50% of the entrants.
  • 3 0
 EWS "How to make Enduro competition safer" That will be tough one to do, racing is just a high risk sport. They could make the stages easier, but then racers push harder and go faster the result will still be a bad crash. Or try to slow down the racers with more tech sections, but then you can still crash hard on the tech sections.
  • 2 0
 But there are efforts to be better prepared for managing care and first aid. Such information will be used to deduce how many medics should be present, what they should have with them, where they should be located, specific training requirements, marshal training and maybe what access to critical care in a real emergency situation is needed. An example idea perhaps everyone should see a medic before the start for an assesment, then see them again 2/3 of the way through, if medic can see signs of fatigue, dehydration or other impairment to give advice or pull them out of the race. It might be extreme, but it might slso 'make enduro racing safer'.
  • 2 0
 Studies have shown that exercise regimes with lifting weights can affect bone density, making them stronger. However if an immovable object suddenly jumps out in front of you when you’re travelling at speed the best bone density in the world aint going to stop that from hurting you badly.
  • 5 0
 Summary: they hurt like ouchies.
  • 4 4
 Too lazy to go read the article or go find the PB summanry from last year.....can someone " let me google that for you", read it and give me a summary of what the average PB reader needs to know....I didn't need to know that the information got " reposted" in a credible medical journal. Is there a youtube video so that I dont even need to read...

We want to know if all the Christmas prizes have been won....to lazy to go check that as well...
  • 17 0
 I'm an adjunct professor of human physiology, which is about as lowly an academic rank as it's possible to posses, but here's my quick summary of the paper -- in EWS racing, concussion is the most commonly reported injury, but the consequences to the riders are hard to generalize for a number of reasons. Shoulder-collarbone-area injuries together cause the highest number of days off the bike. Future directions include getting a handle on all the variability surrounding concussion diagnosis and response, especially the high rate of getting right back on the bike, and the recognition that EWS riders aren't frequently wearing a kind of armor or brace that's really effective are reducing rates of shoulder-collarbone type injuries.
  • 1 0
 @Snfoilhat: what type of armor is is effective?

I've got a plated collarbone and I'm currently on rehab for an grade 4 AC separation fixed with a dogbone in th3 other shoulder, so can't mess with them much more.
I did my research and found nothing, asked the surgeon (who is also profesionally involved in rugby) and it seems that nothing can prevent those type of injuries.

If you got any information or related study it'll be much appreciated.
  • 5 0
 @Snfoilhat: This world-class summary, if submitted to your employer, should be sufficient for a promotion. Feel free to put my name forward as a reference.
  • 2 0
 @iiman: I feel like remember seeing somewhere that neck braces help. But I don’t know for sure.
  • 1 0
 @Haitham: Seems logical that a neck brace would prevent you from smashing your head into your shoulder during something like an otb crash
  • 4 0
 Is this all Trek's fault too?
  • 3 1
 In other words never mind the potential risk and please continue to ride and purchase more bikes and bike parts.
  • 2 0
 I'm nursing an injured shoulder as we speak, thanks to only jumping 10 feet on a 12 foot gap. Bike crashes just hurt.
  • 1 0
 5 AC separations, 3 broken collar bones and a few concussions here....research seems accurate
  • 1 0
 like that Canadian rider rate was hurt took 8 hours to get a helicopter to fly to hospital
  • 2 0
 "Lots of them" -the International Journal of Sports Medicine
  • 1 0
 Think me tree helmet broke stupid trees
  • 1 0
 Comment withdrawn.

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