Background: The protection of the athletes’ health by preventing injuries is an important task for the international sports federations. Standardized injury surveillance provides not only important epidemiological information, but also directions for injury prevention, and the opportunity for monitoring long-term changes in the frequency and circumstances of injury. Numerous studies have evaluated sports injuries during the season, but only few have focused on injuries during major sport events such as World Championships, World Cups or the Olympic Games.
Objectives: To provide an injury surveillance system for multi-sports tournaments, using the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing as an example.
Methods: A group of experienced researchers reviewed existing injury report systems and developed a scientific sound and concise injury surveillance system for large multi-sport events.
Results: The injury report system for multi-sport events is based on an established system for team sports tournaments and has proven feasible for individual sports during the IAAF World Championships in Athletics 2007. The most important principles and advantages of the system are comprehensive definition of injury, injury report by the physician responsible for the athlete, all injuries reported on a single page and daily report irrespective of whether or not an injury occurred. Implementation of the injury surveillance system, all definitions, the report form, and the analysis of data are described in detail to enable other researchers to implement the injury surveillance system in any sports tournament.
Conclusion: The injury surveillance system has been accepted by experienced team physicians and shown feasible for single- and multi-sport events. It can be modified regarding the specific objectives of a certain sport or research question, however, a standardised use of injury definition and report forms will ensure the comparability of results.
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