Article Title



Alexis Dicks1, Rhiannon Gregory1, Miranda Proctor2, Amanda Trujillo2, Andrew Hatchett1. 1University of South Carolina Aiken, Aiken, SC. 2University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC.

BACKGROUND: Competitive baton twirling is a sport that combines elements of gymnastics, dance and ballet while necessitating cardiovascular endurance, muscular endurance and power, hand-eye coordination, spatial awareness, kinesthetic awareness, timing, and choreography. Approximately one million baton twirlers participating in the sport in the United States. Despite considerable participation in competitive baton twirling, little is known about the characteristics of the athletes. METHODS: This work documents demographic and behavioral characteristics of competitive baton twirlers. Questionnaires were completed by 169 female twirlers from across the Unites States and Canada. Questionnaires were sent out via social media and the only excluding factor was that participants had to have participated in competitive baton twirling. RESULTS: Respondents reported a mean ± SD age of 18.07 ± 6.08 y, height of 162.28 ± 6.24 cm, weight of 60.58 ± 32.49 kg, BMI of 22.92 ± 2.34 kg/m2, GPA 3.73 ± 0.3, and years of competing 8.02 ± 1.81 y. All (100%) qualified respondents reported experiencing injury due to competing in or training for baton. The extent of the injuries reported varied greatly. The top five injuries reported consists of bumps and bruises (95.5%), sprained or strained fingers (53.9%), sprained or strained wrist (25.3%), sprained or strained neck (14.6%), sprained or strained back (35.4%). A diversity of training, recovery, hydration, and nutrition habits were also reported. Of the 169 respondents 72% of the twirlers practice four or more days out of the week; 95% employ stretching and mobility for each session and 90% have structured and targeted practices. Over half of the twirlers consider nutrition when training and competing (66%), while 92% consider hydration when training and competing. CONCLUSION: These findings indicate that the competitive baton twirlers that participated in this research are adolescent females, diverse in physical profile, of normal BMI, high academic achievers, dedicated athletes, consistently overcome injuries and train by diverse means.

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