Background Prevention of injury in elite sport can have not only athlete health benefits but also potential positive performance gains. As the first step towards prevention, valid injury surveillance data is needed.
Objective Provide injury epidemiology information on the British Cycling squad (road/track endurance; track sprint; MTB; BMX).
Design Longitudinal prospective surveillance study, recording injury data. Definitions for injury, time-loss and performance-restriction were used to identify the rate and severity of athlete injuries.
Setting British Cycling National training centre, including domestic and international training/competition venues during the 2011/12–2012/13 seasons.
Participants 61 (16 female; 45 male) National team athletes.
Interventions Standardised report forms for injuries completed by medical staff.
Main outcome measure Injury rate, severity and causes.
Results There were 95 injuries each lasting 16 days, equating 35% of the squad sustaining at least one injury per season. Training injuries were more prevalent (n=77; 30% vs. n=18; 11%), but competition injuries more severe (27d vs. 14d). The majority of competition injuries (83%) resulted in time-loss and training injuries (75%) in performance-restriction. Injury prevalence and severity was highest for the BMX squad and lowest for the endurance squad. Injuries to the lumbar spine (29%), knee (18%) and shoulder/clavicle (14%) were most common, with 17, 9, and 23 days lost per injury, respectively. Overuse (gradual/sudden onset: 58%) and recurrent (35%) were the most common causes of injury, with contact – static object (32d) most severe. Weight training related lumbar spine injuries in the sprint squad and road cycling related shoulder/clavicle and knee injuries in the endurance squad caused the greatest burden in terms of total days lost.
Conclusions Prevention initiatives targeting common and severe injuries may be beneficial in reducing the number of athlete days lost to training/competition.