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Sports injuries and illnesses in the 2009 FINA World Championships (Aquatics)
  1. Margo Mountjoy1,2,3,
  2. Astrid Junge4,5,
  3. Juan Manuel Alonso6,7,
  4. Lars Engebretsen3,8,
  5. Ioan Dragan2,9,
  6. David Gerrard2,10,
  7. Mohamed Kouidri2,11,
  8. Eide Luebs2,12,
  9. Farhad Moradi Shahpar2,13,
  10. Jiri Dvorak4,5,14
  1. 1McMaster University Hamilton, Hamilton, Canada
  2. 2Federation Internationale de Natation (FINA), Lausanne, Switzerland
  3. 3International Olympic Committee (IOC), Lausanne, Switzerland
  4. 4FIFA Medical Assessment and Research Centre (F-MARC), Zurich, Switzerland
  5. 5Schulthess Klinik, Zurich, Switzerland
  6. 6Real Federacion Espanola de Atletismo, Servicos Medicos, Madrid, Spain
  7. 7International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), Monaco
  8. 8Oslo Sports Trauma Research Centre (OSTRC), Oslo, Norway
  9. 9National Institute of Sports Medicine, Bucharest, Romania
  10. 10University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand
  11. 11University of Alger, Alger, Algerie
  12. 12University of Kassel, Kassel, Germany
  13. 13Medical Director Iran Olympic Committee, Tehran, Iran
  14. 14Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), Zurich, Switzerland
  1. Correspondence to Dr Margo Mountjoy, FINA Sports Medicine, University of Guelph, Health and Performance Centre, University of Guelph, 570 Kortright Road West, Guelph, Ontario N1G 3W8, Canada; mmsportdoc{at}


Background Analysis of injury and illness prevalence in elite sport provides the basis for the development of prevention programmes.

Objectives To analyse the frequency and characteristics of injuries and illnesses occurring during the 13th Federation Internationale de Natation (FINA) World Championships 2009.

Design Prospective recording of newly incurred injuries and illnesses.

Methods The 13th FINA World Championships hosted 2592 athletes from 172 countries in the disciplines of swimming, diving, synchronised swimming water polo and open water swimming. All team physicians or physiotherapists were asked to complete daily a standardised reporting form for all newly incurred injuries and illnesses for their teams. To cover teams without medical staff, the physicians of the Local Organizing Committee also submitted daily report forms.

Results 171 injuries were reported resulting in an incidence of 66.0 per 1000 registered athletes. The most affected body parts were the shoulder (n=25; 14.6%), and head (n=21; 12.3%). Half of the injuries occurred during training. The most common cause of injury was overuse (n=61; 37.5%). 184 illnesses were reported resulting in an incidence of 71.0 per 1000 registered athletes. The respiratory tract was most commonly affected (n=91; 50.3%) and the most frequently classified cause was infection (n=81; 49.2%). The incidence of injuries and illnesses varied substantially among the five disciplines, with the highest incidence of injury in diving and the lowest in swimming.

Conclusions As the risk of injury varied with the discipline, preventive measures should be discipline specific and focused on minimising the potential for overuse. As most of the illnesses were caused by infection of the respiratory and gastrointestinal tract, preventive interventions should focus on eliminating common modes of transmission.

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Patient consent Not required.

  • Ethics approval This study was conducted with the approval of the University of Oslo.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.