Background The European Youth Olympic Festival (EYOF) is a biennial sporting event of nine Olympic Summer Sports for talented athletes, aged 13–18 years, from all over Europe.
Objective To analyse the injuries and illnesses that occurred during the multisport event (14–19 July 2013), with the long-term aim of enabling international sports federations, the National Olympic Committees, and the European Olympic Committee to improve protection of athletes’ health in youth.
Methods Daily occurrence or non-occurrence of injuries and illnesses was recorded by using the IOC injury and illness surveillance system for multisport events. All National Olympic Committee physicians and healthcare providers and physicians of the Local Organizing Committee were invited to participate.
Results In total, 2272 athletes from 49 countries took part in the EYOF 2013. During the five competition days of EYOF, 207 injuries and 46 illnesses were reported, resulting in an incidence of 91.1 injuries and 20.2 illnesses per 1000 athletes. Almost 10% of the athletes sustained at least one injury or illness.
Conclusions This study is the first multisport surveillance study on injuries and illnesses during the EYOF or any other summer Games organised for youth elite athletes. The data form the basis for further research on risk factors and injury mechanisms for this cohort. This research is needed to gain more knowledge and finally to implement effective injury and illness prevention measures.