The Prevalence of Painful Incidents among Young Recreational Gymnasts
BACKGROUND: Although children experience pain during their daily life, research has generally focused on medical pain. Sport-related pain has not been widely studied in children and research has not examined the occurrence of painful incidents in gymnastics. The prevalence of painful incidents among children in recreational gymnastics classes and accompanying coach responses were recorded.METHODS: Sixty-one children between five and 10 years of age were observed at a gymnastics club. A checklist was used to record painful incidents as well as coach and child responses.RESULTS: The rate of painful incidents was 0.17 per child per hour observed. The floor apparatus was the most common site of incidents, while bumping into equipment was the most common incident. Based on observer ratings, most incidents were mild to moderate in severity and, on average, the child’s reaction to these mild to moderate incidents lasted for 8.5 s. Forty per cent of the children had a mild to moderate painful experience. Coaches reacted to more than 60% of the painful incidents, usually asking how the child was and what had happened. A significant difference was found between the mean severity ratings of painful incidents that were followed by coach response and incidents followed by no response.CONCLUSION: Most children who attend recreational gymnastics classes will likely experience at least one mild to moderate painful experience for every 6 h of class. Coaches are more inclined to react to a painful incident than not. Moreover, a difference was found that suggests coaches responded to more painful incidents.