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Prospective cohort study on injuries and health problems among circus arts students
  1. Janine H Stubbe1,2,3,
  2. Angelo Richardson1,2,
  3. Rogier M van Rijn1,2
  1. 1 Codarts, University of the Arts, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
  2. 2 Performing Artist and Athlete Research Lab (PEARL), Rotterdam, The Netherlands
  3. 3 Rotterdam Arts and Science Lab (RASL), Rotterdam, The Netherlands
  1. Correspondence to Janine H Stubbe; jhstubbe{at}


Aim The amount of injuries, illnesses and mental health problems was calculated among circus arts students, using a method designed to capture more than just time-loss and/or medical injuries. Furthermore, injury incidence rate, injury incidence proportions, anatomical injury location and severity of injuries were assessed.

Methods A total of 44 first-year, second-year and third-year circus arts students were prospectively followed during one academic year. Every month, all students were asked to complete questionnaires by using the online Performing Artist and Athlete Health Monitor, which includes the Oslo Sports Trauma Research Centre Questionnaire on Health Problems.

Results In total, 41 students completed the entire follow-up period. The response rate was 82.9%. During the academic year, all (100%) students reported a health problem. A total of 261 health problems were reported consisting of 184 injuries (70.5%), 51 illnesses (19.5%), 15 mental problems (5.0%) and 11 other health problems (3.1%). The injury incidence rate was 3.3 injuries per 1000 hours (95% CI 2.7 to 3.9). Monthly incidence proportion for substantial injuries (ie, problems leading to moderate or severe reductions in training volume or in performance or complete inability to participate in activities) ranged from 6.8% to 34.1%. Shoulder (n=51; 27.7%), lower back (n=29; 15.8%), wrist (n=26; 14.1%) and ankle (n=17; 9.2%) were the most reported injuries. The average duration of the injuries was 6.9 days (median=2.0; SD=15.0).

Conclusions We implemented a new registration method for circus artists, which captures a complete picture of the burden of health problems in circus students. Our study showed that the burden of injuries is high in this population.

  • injury
  • overuse
  • prospective

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  • Contributors All three authors have substantially contributed to conception and design, acquisition of data or analysis and interpretation of data, drafting the article or revising it critically for important intellectual content and final approval of the version to be published.

  • Funding This work was supported by National Association of Applied Sciences SIA (grant number 2015-02-73P).

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement No data are available.

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