Back pain in intercollegiate rowers

Carol C. Teitz, John O'Kane, Bonnie K. Lind, Jo A. Hannafin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations


Background: Back pain is prevalent among intercollegiate rowers. Purpose: We conducted a large-scale study to determine the rate of and the potential etiologic factors for clearly defined back pain that developed during intercollegiate rowing. Study Design: Survey. Methods: Surveys from 1632 former intercollegiate rowing athletes were analyzed. These surveys concerned training methods and back pain before and during intercollegiate rowing. Back pain was defined as pain that lasted at least 1 week. Results: Five hundred twenty-six subjects reported that back pain developed during intercollegiate rowing. Factors significantly associated with the development of back pain included age at the time of the survey; history of rowing before age 16; use of a hatchet oar blade; training with free weights, weight machines, and an ergometer; midline ergometer cable position; and ergometer training sessions longer than 30 minutes. Back pain while in college also was associated with higher mean college weight and height. Conclusions: Intercollegiate rowers in the last 10 years covered by this study were larger, started rowing at an earlier age, trained more intensely, and developed more back pain during college than their predecessors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)674-679
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Sports Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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