Background Olympic Sailing events have evolved to include quicker and more physically demanding boats, stirring interest in the injury patterns and associations amongst sailors of these boats.
Objective To characterise sailing-related injuries and illnesses among sailors participating in the ISAF 2014 World Championships.
Design Retrospective descriptive study.
Setting The International Sailing Federation (ISAF) World Championships is a top tier competition bringing together 1167 sailors in all 10 Olympic classes. The Sailing World Championships 2014 were held in Santander, Spain.
Patients (or Participants) Sailors registered for the 2014 ISAF World Championships were surveyed via an interviewer-administered questionnaire from June to September 2014 (off-site prior to competition; and on-site during competition). This was a 12-month recall questionnaire on sailing-related injuries and illnesses.
Interventions (or Assessment of Risk Factors) Gender, position (helm, crew), sailing class, training volume, part of boat contributing to injury, and actions performed during sailing.
Main Outcome Measurements The occurrence or non-occurrence of sailing-related injuries and illnesses; the number of injuries; injury site, type, cause/mechanism; injury prevalence and severity; and contributing factors to injury.
Results There were 760 respondents (65% of all participants) for the 12-month recall questionnaire (58% male, 42% female), of whom 244 participants reported 299 injuries (0.59 injuries per 1000 h of sailing). Injuries were most prevalent in the 49erFX (64%), RS:X Women (39%), 49er (37%) and Nacra 17 (36%). Lower back (29% of sailors), knee (13%), shoulder (12%) and ankle (10%) injuries were most prevalent; most (58% of all injuries) were overuse injuries; and 56% of sailors lost sailing time. Most illnesses (40%) were infections, primarily of the respiratory system (43%).
Conclusions The Olympic classes introduced since 2000 (49erFX, 49er, Nacra 17) report more injuries. These injuries were mainly traumatic events, compared with overuse injuries in the other classes.