Launch of MTBO injuries database

Posted on | November 10, 2016 | Category: News

Injuries are an unavoidable element of all sports. To understand the risks associated with MTBO competitions and to improve safety as much as reasonable, a new database collects information about accidents.

Most sports are prone to the risk of injuries. You can damage your knee in a football match or fall from your horse during a riding lesson. It is unavoidable. Nevertheless, it is possible to take steps that minimize the risks and damages. To take the right steps you need to know what problems to deal with. MTBO is a fairly new discipline, and to get a base of knowledge about injuries in the sport, the MTBO Commission has launched an injuries database:

– Injuries are an unavoidable element of all sports, especially at elite level. Our task in the MTBO community is to reduce the likelihood of serious accidents happening. We need some facts over and above hearsay to decide whether reducing MTBO accidents could be better done through refining the rules, educating organisers, or raising awareness amongst athletes. The MTBO injuries database is an important tool to make sure that we understand the issues and take the right steps, chairman of the MTBO Commission Sandor Talas says.

The chairman of the MTBO commission Sandor Talas.

The chairman of the MTBO commission Sandor Talas.

All athletes who experience or have experienced injuries doing a MTBO competition are requested to fill in a form with a few questions about their accident. The idea of a database has been around for three years, and from the spring this year the database opened for reporting injuries. Currently over 20 accidents have been reported. Half of them from 2016, half of them historic ones:

– We are encouraging people to also report accidents that happened in the past five years. The objective is to analyse the nature of the accidents, not their frequency. As more people get involved, more accidents are bound to happen simply due to increase in numbers of athletes, Sandor Talas says.


Education instead of rules

The injuries database is a continuing process with no deadline. The MTBO commission has already formed a general view of the reported injuries:

– The first high-level conclusions appear to be clear. Around 3/4 of accidents are connected to map reading and 2/3 of accidents are single rider accidents. Head on collisions account for 1/5 of the accidents. Most of the accidents are inherent to MTBO like sprained ankles to FootO, Sandor Talas says.

An immediate reaction hearing about accidents would be creating new rules to prevent injuries. But you need a full understanding of the situation, Sandor Talas tells after having analysed the first reports:

– There are very few accidents where even with hindsight organisers could have done something to prevent it. For example, we have rules in place in order to reduce the chances of people riding in opposite directions on the same track. But we also have rules on how riders shall ride (keeping to the right). They are just not adhered to in the heat of the moment, Sandor Talas says.

In the phi loop no control is visited more than two times, compared to a classic butterfly where the central control is visited at least three times.

In the phi loop no control is visited more than two times, compared to a classic butterfly where the central control is visited at least three times.

From the data received so far, it seems that the main thrust of activities should be around educating both organisers and athletes instead of new rules:

– We have to make sure that organisers are aware of the safer options, for example using phi loops instead of classic single point butterflies. The same goes for athletes: the more they are aware what may happen in ‘innocent’ situations, the more likely they pay the extra attention to avoid crashes, Sandor Talas says.

If you become or have been involved in an accident in a MTBO competition, you are encouraged to report your accident to the injuries database via this form.

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