Background The International Sailing Federation (ISAF) World Championships brings together eilite sailors in all 10 Olympic classes. There is increasing interest in the injury and illness patterns of sailors during a major competition, especially in the newer Olympic classes (49erFX, 49er, Nacra 17).
Objective To describe the incidence, pattern, and severity of sailing-related injuries and illnesses among competitive sailors during the International Sailing Federation Sailing World Championships 2014.
Design Prospective descriptive study using the International Olympic Committee injury surveillance system reporting forms. Team officials and medical centre doctors submitted daily surveillance reports.
Setting The International Sailing Federation Sailing World Championships, 8–21 September 2014, Santander, Spain.
Patients (or Participants) All participating sailors in the International Sailing Federation Sailing World Championships 2014.
Interventions (or Assessment of Risk Factors) Gender, position (helm, crew), sailing class, training volume, part of boat contributing to injury, actions performed during sailing; wind and water conditions during competition.
Main Outcome Measurements The occurrence or non-occurrence of sailing-related injuries and illnesses; the number of injuries; the site, type, cause/mechanism of injury; injury severity; and contributing factors to injury.
Results There were 67 injuries (4 per 1000 days of sailing). The 49er (24% of all injuries), 470 Men and Women (24%), and 49erFX (19%) had the highest incidence. Injuries to the hand/fingers (22% of all injuries), back (18%), and foot (12%) were most common, as were contusions (37% of all injuries), cuts/lacerations (24%), and sprains (9%). Of the 29 illnesses (2 per 100 days of sailing), 9 (31%) were gastrointestinal and 6 (21%) respiratory, while 2 (7%) were gout attacks.
Conclusions The newer Olympic classes account for a large proportion of injuries during competition. These injuries were mainly acute events, occurring more on competitions days with higher wind speeds and gusts.