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Taekwondo becomes a safer sport

Taekwondo becomes a safer sport

A Medical study commissioned by the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) concludes that Taekwondo is among the safest contact sports within the Olympic program, with an injury rate of only 0.31%.
The report was prepared by analyzing statistics from the French company Mutuelle des Sportifs, which is the health insurance provider that all members of National Federations recognised by the Ministry of Sport and the National Olympic Committee are required to have.
The dossier, which includes the last four seasons of our sport’s activity in France (from 2008/2009 to 2011/2012), proves that the introduction of the Protection and Scoring System (PSS) designed by the Spanish company Daedo International and the application of new rules aimed to allow points for a light touch to the head have been a turning point for Taekwondo.
The launching of both initiatives back in 2010 has lead to the lowest injury rate Taekwondo has ever had in France: during the 2011/2012 season, less than four athletes in every 1,000 have suffered injuries in either competitions or training, which equates to an impressive 16.2 per cent reduction in injuries in the last two seasons and an 18.4 per cent reduction since the 2008/2009 season.
In addition, there’s only been 1 reported knock-out and 1 loss of consciousness among the 52,397 Taekwondo practitioners registered for last season. The study also shows that the level of serious injuries was consistently low throughout the period of the analysis.

Zamora (GUA) vs Sonkham (THA) during London 2012 -49 kg bronze medal match

It seems that the fact that points can now be scored with just a light touch to the head has made fighters focus their priorities on agility, accuracy and speed of movement rather than on generating as much force as possible. The statistics of both the 2012 London Olympics and this year’s WTF World Cup Team Taekwondo Championships in Aruba prove this change of trend, specially when compared to the numbers of Beijing Games.
While in the 2008 Olympics there were 34 injuries in total within the 126 fighters in competition, which equates to a 27% injury rate, in London and Aruba there was not a single knock-out, not any serious injury happened and none of the fights had to be forfeited due to an injury.
In recent statements to Inside the Games website, WTF Secretary General Jean-Marie Ayer commented that the World Taekwondo Federation “is delighted with the findings of this study”. Ayer stated that the report “proves that Taekwondo is a safe sport that is getting safer year after year”.
“It is particularly pleasing to see that our rule changes have had the positive impact on athletes’ welfare that we were looking for: now that points can be scored with just a light touch to the head, accuracy and speed are more important than impact. We have all but eliminated knock-outs – the phrase is not even in our competition vocabulary any more”, added the WTF SG.
Ayer also showed to be proud of the inclusion of both the PSS and the Video Replay: “We have made Taekwondo a faster, more exciting spectacle for fans and a safer, more accessible sport for athletes”, he concluded.
Pau Aguilar
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