Background Injury and illness surveillance during high-level junior sports events is an important first step in health prevention and caretaking of the young elite athletes.
Objective To analyse injuries and illnesses that occurred during the 2nd Youth Olympic Winter Games, YOG, held in Lillehammer 2016.
Design Prospective cohort study.
Participants 1083 14–18 year-old elite athletes, 46% (n=502) of them females, from 70 National Olympic Committees (NOC).
Intervention We recorded the daily occurrence (or non-occurrence) of injuries and illnesses through the reporting of 1) all NOC medical teams and 2) the polyclinic and medical venues by the Lillehammer Organising Committee (LYOCOG) medical staff.
Main Outcome Measurements Newly occurred injuries and illnesses during the 2016 Lillehammer YOG.
Results NOCs and LYOCOG reported 108 injuries and 81 illnesses, equalling to 9.5 injuries and 7.2 illnesses per 100 athletes over the 10-day competition period. The percentage of injured athletes was highest in the snowboard and freestyle slopestyle and cross disciplines, alpine skiing, and skeleton, and lowest in the Nordic skiing disciplines. Approximately, two thirds of the injuries (n=71, 65.7%) prevented the athlete from absence from training or competition, while 10 injuries (9.3%) were registered with an estimated absence from sport for >7 days. The rate of illness was highest in curling and the Nordic skiing disciplines with most of them being respiratory tract infections (81.5%).
Conclusions Overall, 9% of the athletes incurred at least one injury during the games, and 7% an illness, which is similar to the first YOG and slightly lower compared to previous Winter Olympic Games. The incidence of injuries and illnesses varied substantially between sports and will require the implementation of individualized preventive measure.