WEDNESDAY, Sept. 12, 2018 (HealthDay News) — Among female athletes, lifetime sexual and physical abuse are associated with increased likelihood of injury, according to a study published online Sept. 6 in the British Journal of Sports Injury.

Toomas Timpka, M.D., Ph.D., from Linköping University in Sweden, and colleagues performed a cross-sectional study among the top 10 Swedish Athletics athletes to examine the correlation between sociodemographic characteristics, lifetime abuse history, and training load with the likelihood of sports and non-sports injuries.

The researchers found that 11 percent of the 197 participating athletes reported sexual abuse, with a higher proportion of women versus men (16.2 versus 4.3 percent). Lifetime physical abuse was reported by 18 percent, with a higher proportion of men than women (22.8 versus 14.3 percent). Lifetime sexual abuse correlated with increased likelihood of a non-sports injury among women (odds ratio, 8.78). For men, the likelihood of a non-sports injury was higher with more frequent use of alcoholic beverages (odds ratio, 6.47) and lower with commencing athletics training at >13 years (odds ratio, 0.09). In women, lifetime physical abuse correlated with increased likelihood of sports injury (odds ratio, 12.37).

“Lifetime sexual and physical abuse were associated with an increased likelihood of injury among female athletes,” the authors write. “Emotional factors should be included in the comprehension of injuries sustained by athletes.”

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