Kamitani et al identified risk factors for catastrophic head and neck injuries in judo players in Japan. These can help to identify a judo player who is at risk for serious injury. The authors are from Tokyo Kosei Nenkin Hospital in Tokyo.


Subject selection: judo player


Risk factors for catastrophic head injury (most often related to subdural hematoma and cerebral contusion):

(1) age < 20 years with < 3 years experience

(2) throwing maneuver such as the osoto-gari AND opponent does not correctly perform the falling technique (ukemi)


A patient with a coagulopathy would also be at increased risk for a subdural hematoma after head injury.


Risk factors for catastrophic neck injury (with trauma to the cervical vertebrae and spinal cord):

(1) > 3 years experience (with use of more difficult techniques)

(2) offensive maneuver such as the uchi-mata throwing technique AND the opponent lands headfirst


Knowing the judo technique being used prior to the injury is helpful in understanding what happened. A videotape can be invaluable.


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