The Pennsylvania State University ©1997

Synchronized Skating Causes Different Injuries

May 25, 2000
HERSHEY, PA--Synchronized skating, the newest discipline within figure skating, has been described as Rockettes on ice. What began in the fifties as a club activity has since blossomed into a highly competitive sport. Ellen Geminiani, M.D., a family physician at The Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and assistant professor of family and community medicine at Penn State's College of Medicine, is a member of the Sports Medicine Committee of U.S. Figure Skating and investigates injuries caused by synchronized skating.

Synchronized skaters suffer from many of the same injuries as singles skaters, but group skating adds another element. Because synchronized skaters often hold onto each other, injuries of the arms and wrists are common. Collision injuries and lacerations are also a major concern. Geminiani stresses that injury prevention is important. Skaters must maintain flexibility and strength through off-ice conditioning. Teams must be balanced in skating proficiency; skills training for individual skaters is key. Preventive training can also play a role, though it will be difficult until the most common injuries can be identified. Just as important as prevention is adequate medical supervision at synchronized skating events.

In her role as team physician, Geminiani has traveled with U.S. synchronized skating teams to Sweden, France and Toronto, as well as attending national championships in Chicago, Detroit and Tampa. She is also an assistant coach for the local synchronized skating team. A skater since she was ten, her interest in synchronized skating began in college when she and a group of friends formed their own team. "It is very different because you belong to a group," she explains. "It is also a very appealing discipline and sport for the public, because it is so easy to watch."

Geminiani will give a talk titled Synchronized Skating at the annual meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine in Indianapolis on June 1, 2000.

Charlotte Murray (o)(717) 531-7272, email:
M. Steven Bortner (o)(717) 531-8607, email: