Indoor climbing considered safer than soccer

by Tom Markiewicz on October 8, 2006

A recent study found that indoor rock climbing has a low risk of injury and is 10 times safer than soccer. The study was published by the quarterly medical journal Wilderness and Environmental Medicine (PDF) by the Wilderness Medical Society.

From the,

The study by German researchers was based on the rates and types of injury at the 2005 World Championships in rock climbing in Munich, Germany, which involved almost 500 climbers from 55 countries.

The championships had an injury rate of 3.1 per 1,000 hours compared to adult male national soccer competitions where players face an injury rate of 30.3 per 1,000 hours.

Over the course of the competition’s events that totaled 520 climbing days, only three of 18 medical problems were treated as significant injuries, including a broken ankle, back sprain and knee sprain, while the majority of the problems were just bruises.

An interesting study for the average person who thinks climbing is more risky than other sports, but what I would be more interested in reading is a study that compares the injury rate within the various climbing disciplines. Personally, I find I get more injuries when climbing indoors (especially bouldering) compared to climbing outside. With bouldering, I think the reason is obvious. If you’re bouldering outside, all the problems are spread out across more time, usually the whole day. When bouldering indoors, a climber typically compress the same amount of problems (or more) into a 2 hour session. This simply stresses the body much more. also has some additional reporting on this study.

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