JOURNAL ARTICLE

Determination of future prevention strategies in elite track and field: analysis of Daegu 2011 IAAF Championships injuries and illnesses surveillance

Juan-Manuel Alonso, Pascal Edouard, Giuseppe Fischetto, Bob Adams, Frédéric Depiesse, Margo Mountjoy
British Journal of Sports Medicine 2012, 46 (7): 505-14
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OBJECTIVE: To determine the incidence and characteristics of newly incurred injuries and illnesses during international Athletics Championships, by improving the medical surveillance coverage, in order to determine future prevention strategies.

DESIGN: Prospective recording of newly occurred injuries and illnesses.

SETTING: 13th International Association of Athletics Federations World Championships in Athletics 2011 in Daegu, Korea.

PARTICIPANTS: National team and Local Organising Committee physicians; and 1851 registered athletes.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Incidence and characteristics of newly incurred injuries and illnesses.

RESULTS: 82% of athletes were covered by medical teams participating with a response rate of 94%. A total of 249 injuries were reported, representing an incidence of 134.5 injuries per 1000 registered athletes, and 119 (48%) resulted in time loss from sport. A total of 185 injuries affected the lower limb (74%). Hamstring strain was the main diagnosis and 67% resulted in absence from sport. Overuse (n=148; 59%) was the predominant cause. A total of 126 illnesses were reported, signifying an incidence of 68.1 per 1000 registered athletes. Upper respiratory tract infection was the most common reported diagnosis (18%), followed by exercise-induced dehydration (12%), and gastroenteritis/diarrhoea (10%). The highest incidences of injuries were found in combined events and middle and long-distance events, and of illness in race walking events.

CONCLUSION: During elite Athletics World Championships, 135 injuries, 60 time-loss injuries and 68 illnesses per 1000 registered athletes were reported. Higher risks of injuries were found in combined events and long-distance runs. Preventive interventions should focus on overuse injuries and hamstring strains, decreasing the risk of transmission of infectious diseases, appropriate event scheduling and heat acclimatisation.

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