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Determination of future prevention strategies in elite track and field: analysis of Daegu 2011 IAAF Championships injuries and illnesses surveillance
  1. Juan-Manuel Alonso1,2,
  2. Pascal Edouard3,4,
  3. Giuseppe Fischetto1,5,
  4. Bob Adams1,6,
  5. Frédéric Depiesse1,4,
  6. Margo Mountjoy7,8,9
  1. 1Medical and Anti-Doping Commission, International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), Monaco
  2. 2Medical Department, Royal Spanish Athletics Federation (Real Federación Española de Atletismo, RFEA), Madrid, Spain
  3. 3Department of Clinical and Exercise Physiology, University-Hospital of Saint-Etienne, and Laboratory of Exercise Physiology (LPE EA 4338), University of Lyon, F-42023, Saint-Etienne, France
  4. 4Medical Commission, French Athletics Federation (FFA), Paris, France
  5. 5Medical Department, Italian Athletics Federation (FIDAL), Rome, Italy
  6. 6Sports Medicine and Science Committee, USA Track and Field, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
  7. 7Department of Family Medicine, Michael G DeGroote School of Medicine, McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada
  8. 8Medical & Scientific Department, International Olympic Committee (IOC), Lausanne, Switzerland
  9. 9FINA Bureau and Sports Medicine, Fédération Internationale de Natation (FINA), Lausanne, Switzerland
  1. Correspondence to Juan-Manuel Alonso, RFEA Servicios Médicos, Avenida de Valladolid, 81, 28008-Madrid; Spain; dir.medico{at}


Objective To determine the incidence and characteristics of newly incurred injuries and illnesses during international Athletics Championships, by improving the medical surveillance coverage, in order to determine future prevention strategies.

Design Prospective recording of newly occurred injuries and illnesses.

Setting 13th International Association of Athletics Federations World Championships in Athletics 2011 in Daegu, Korea.

Participants National team and Local Organising Committee physicians; and 1851 registered athletes.

Main outcome measures Incidence and characteristics of newly incurred injuries and illnesses.

Results 82% of athletes were covered by medical teams participating with a response rate of 94%. A total of 249 injuries were reported, representing an incidence of 134.5 injuries per 1000 registered athletes, and 119 (48%) resulted in time loss from sport. A total of 185 injuries affected the lower limb (74%). Hamstring strain was the main diagnosis and 67% resulted in absence from sport. Overuse (n=148; 59%) was the predominant cause. A total of 126 illnesses were reported, signifying an incidence of 68.1 per 1000 registered athletes. Upper respiratory tract infection was the most common reported diagnosis (18%), followed by exercise-induced dehydration (12%), and gastroenteritis/diarrhoea (10%). The highest incidences of injuries were found in combined events and middle and long-distance events, and of illness in race walking events.

Conclusion During elite Athletics World Championships, 135 injuries, 60 time-loss injuries and 68 illnesses per 1000 registered athletes were reported. Higher risks of injuries were found in combined events and long-distance runs. Preventive interventions should focus on overuse injuries and hamstring strains, decreasing the risk of transmission of infectious diseases, appropriate event scheduling and heat acclimatisation.

This paper is freely available online under the BMJ Journals unlocked scheme, see

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval Oslo University School of Medicine Ethical Committee.

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