Back pain in former intercollegiate rowers: A long-term follow-up study

Carol C. Teitz, John W. O'Kane, Bonnie K. Lind

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

27 Scopus citations


Background: Research has shown that 32% of intercollegiate rowers develop back pain during their college career. Hypothesis: Rowers who develop back pain in college are more likely than the general population to have back pain later in life. Study Design: Survey. Methods: Surveys from 1561 former intercollegiate rowing athletes were analyzed. Subjects who completed the surveys had graduated from college at a mean and median of 13 years previously, with a range of 0 to 20 years between graduation and completion of the survey. The survey was designed to determine the presence of back pain and its severity before, during, and after intercollegiate rowing. Back pain was defined as pain that lasted at least 1 week. Results: Age was a significant predictor of back pain after college. Nevertheless, the lifetime prevalence of back pain in former intercollegiate rowers was no different from that of the general population (51.4% versus 60% to 80%). However, rowers who developed back pain in college had more subsequent back pain than rowers who were asymptomatic in college (78.9% versus 37.9%). Rowers who were asymptomatic in college had significantly lower rates of back pain as they aged than did the general population. The mean severity of current back pain was 3.5 ± 1.9 on a scale of 1 to 10. Conclusions: Intercollegiate rowers are no more likely than the general population to have back pain later in life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)590-595
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Sports Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 2003


ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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