Various opinions exist regarding this question; however, there is no doubt that sports injury is a major factor that undermines the performance levels of sportspersons. A study by Lal, Anitha, and Kumar(2020) reported that prevention of lower extremities injuries among taekwondo players is important since 75% of taekwondo players experience lower extremities injuries. In addition, according to a study by Zarei, Johari, and Bagherian(2020), the rate of lower extremities injuries to taekwondo players is significantly higher(60.5%) than other joints. According to a study by Junge et al. (2009), international sports organizations such as the Federation International de Football Association (FIFA) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) are involved in various efforts to prevent and deal with sports injuries.
Sports injuries commonly occur in sportspersons during competitive activities and practice routines, and the causes include cumulative fatigue from repeated training, lack of warm-up exercises, and absence of motivation during the competition. In addition, Ageberg et al. (2019) reported that injuries vary according to the characteristics of each sport, and risk of injury is related to dynamic interaction with the opponent and high levels of training exposure. Engebretsen et al. (2013) surveyed the injuries of athletes who participated in the 2012 London Olympic Games and found that taekwondo, soccer, and bicycle motocross (BMX) events were more frequently involved in causing injuries.
In particular, taekwondo, which causes a lot of sports injuries, involves one-on-one competition with an opponent. Owing to the characteristics of taekwondo, sports injury occurs frequently in situations such as hitting, in the process of kicking the opponent, and during transitional movement, such as putting the foot down after practicing foot skills. Sports injury in taekwondo was reported to be higher in the lower extremities (66.7%) than in the upper extremities in a study by Park and Song (2018). In taekwondo competitions, sports injuries commonly involve 3 sites in the lower extremity, the ankles, knees, and thighs (Park & Song, 2018). These sports injuries appear to have a significant impact on the levels of stress, anxiety, confidence, and degree of sport continuance in taekwondo athletes (Kim et al. 2020). In addition, sports injury is also an important concern for coaches.
Several previous studies on sports injuries in taekwondo events were conducted during certain competitions or events, such as the World Cup or National Team events (Park & Song, 2018). In Korea, a study was conducted on sports injury in high school athletes (Kim, 2018). These studies have been used as data on sports injury and its prevention; however, they cannot identify detailed characteristics regarding the mechanism of the injury that occur in athletes. In addition, as the regulations of taekwondo competitions continue to change, the performance skills and training methods of the athletes change correspondingly. Therefore, it may be appropriate to study the recent trends of sports injuries in taekwondo.
In this study, we aimed to determine the frequency and characteristics of lower extremity injuries in high school taekwondo athletes. Hence, extensive investigation was conducted regarding the frequency of the sports injury, cause of the sports injury (such injury by person), non-contact injury, degree of injury (such as surgery, cast, rest, etc.), and time of injury (during competition or during practice).