Background The prevention of injury and illness remains an important issue among young elite athletes. Systematic surveillance of injuries and illnesses during multi-sport events might provide a valuable basis to develop preventive measures, focusing especially on adequate information for youth athletes.
Aim To analyse the frequencies and characteristics of injuries and illnesses during the 2015 Winter European Youth Olympic Festival (W-EYOF).
Methods All National Olympic Committees were asked to report daily the occurrence or non-occurrence of newly sustained injuries and illnesses on a standardised reporting form.
Results Among the 899 registered athletes (37% female) with a mean age of 17.1±0.8 years, a total of 38 injuries and 34 illnesses during the 5 competition days of the W-EYOF were reported, resulting in an incidence of 42.3 injuries and 37.8 illnesses per 1000 athletes, respectively. Injury frequency was highest in snowboard cross (11%), Nordic combined (9%), alpine skiing (6%), and ice hockey (6%), taking into account the respective number of registered athletes. In snowboard cross, females showed a significant higher injury frequency compared to males (22% vs 4%, p=0.033). The lower back (16%), the pelvis (13%), the knee (11%), and the face (11%) were the most common injury locations. About 58% of injuries occurred in competition and about 42% in training. In total, 42% of injuries resulted in an absence of training or competition. The prevalence of illness was highest in figure skating (10%) and Nordic combined (9%), and the respiratory system was affected most often (53%).
Conclusions Four per cent of the athletes suffered from an injury and 4% from illnesses during the 2015 W-EYOF, which is about twofold lower compared to the first Winter Youth Olympic Games in 2012.