The aims of this paper were to record injury rates among Iranian women competitive Shotokan karate athletes and propose possible predisposing factors. A prospective recording of the injuries resulting from all matches in 6 consecutive women national Shotokan Karate Championships in all age groups in Iran (season 2004-2005) was performed. Data recorded included demographic characteristics (Age and Weight), athletic background (rank, years of experience, time spent training and previous injuries), type, location and reason for the injury, and the result of the match. Results indicate 186 recorded injuries from a total of 1139 bouts involving 1019 athletes, therefore there were 0.163 injury per bout [C.I. 95%: 0.142-0.184] and 183 injuries per 1000 athletes [C.I. 95%: 159-205]. Injuries were most commonly located in the head and neck (55.4%) followed by the lower limb (21%), upper limb (12.9%) and trunk (10.8%). Punches (48. 4%) were associated with more injuries than kicks (33.3%). The injuries consisted of muscle strain and contusion (81, 43.6%), hematoma and epistaxis (49, 26.3%), lacerations and abrasions (28, 15. 1%), concussion (13, 7%), tooth avulsion or subluxation (3, 1.6%), joint dislocation (3, 1.6%) and fractures (3, 1.6%). In conclusion, as the majority of injuries are minor, and severe or longstanding injuries are uncommon, it can be argued that shotokan karate is a relatively safe for females, despite its image as a combat sport, where ostensibly the aim appears to injure your opponent. Further research is needed to evaluate the effective strategies to minimize the risk of injuries.
Key points186 injuries were recorded during women competitions.Incidence rates of 0.163 injury per bout and 183 injuries per 1000 athletes were calculated.The injuries were most commonly located in the head and neck.Muscle strain and contusion, hematoma and epistaxis constitute the majority of injuries.