During the Medical Commission meeting held in Tokyo, on 12th November 2008, several issues on the safety of the karate competition were discussed. It has became evident that the change in competition rules have been associated to a marked reduction in the rate of injuries during world level competition: the comparison of the injuries that took place during the 2867 fights of the last three World Championships held before the change of rules (Munich ’00, Rio de Janeiro ’98 and Sun City ’96) and those that took place during the 2792 fights of the three World Championships held after the change of competition rules (Madrid ’02, Monterrey ’04 and Tampere ’06), show without doubt a 50% reduction in the rate of injuries per fight. The number of injuries is very similar in male and female competition (approximately 6.5 injuries per 100 minutes of active fighting). Most of injuries (85%) are minor ones, which turns karate competition into a very safe one.
It was hoped that, in the near future, the safety of the competition is even increased. The reports on injuries presented by Dr. Guido Orozco from the past Panamerican Championships, both senior and juniors, also showed a marked reduction in the rate of injuries, as did scientific papers published in medical journals in the last months. The methodology of medical attention to the competitors, interaction with referees, injury recording system, etc., was reviewed with Dr. Suzuki, head of the Japanese medical team for the XIX World Championships.