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Injury and illness definitions and data collection procedures for use in epidemiological studies in Athletics (track and field): Consensus statement
  1. Toomas Timpka1,
  2. Juan-Manuel Alonso2,3,
  3. Jenny Jacobsson1,4,
  4. Astrid Junge5,6,7,
  5. Pedro Branco2,8,
  6. Ben Clarsen9,10,
  7. Jan Kowalski1,4,11,12,
  8. Margo Mountjoy13,14,15,
  9. Sverker Nilsson1,4,
  10. Babette Pluim16,
  11. Per Renström12,13,
  12. Ola Rønsen2,10,
  13. Kathrin Steffen9,
  14. Pascal Edouard17,18,19
  1. 1Department of Medical and Health sciences, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden
  2. 2International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Medical and Anti-doping Commission, Montecarlo, Monaco
  3. 3Sports Medicine Department, Aspetar, Qatar Orthopedics and Sports Medicine Hospital, Doha, Qatar
  4. 4Swedish Athletics Association, Stockholm, Sweden
  5. 5FIFA Medical Assessment and Research Centre (F-MARC), Zurich, Switzerland
  6. 6Schulthess Klinik, Zurich, Switzerland
  7. 7Medical School Hamburg (MSH), Hamburg, Germany
  8. 8European Athletics Medical & Anti-Doping Commission, European Athletics Association (EAA), Lausanne, Switzerland
  9. 9Oslo Sports Trauma Research Centre, Oslo, Norway
  10. 10Olympic Elite Sports Program (Olympiatoppen), Oslo, Norway
  11. 11Diamond League, Stockholm, Sweden
  12. 12Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
  13. 13International Olympic Committee (IOC) Medical Commission, Lausanne, Switzerland
  14. 14Department of Sports Medicine, FINA Bureau, Lausanne, Switzerland
  15. 15McMaster University School of Medicine, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
  16. 16Royal Netherlands Lawn Tennis Association, Amersfoort, The Netherlands
  17. 17Department of Clinical and Exercise Physiology, Sports Medicine Unit, Faculty of Medicine, University Hospital of Saint-Etienne, Saint-Etienne, France
  18. 18Laboratory of Exercise Physiology (LPE EA 4338), University of Lyon, Saint-Etienne, France
  19. 19Medical Commission, French Athletics Federation (FFA), Paris, France
  1. Correspondence to Dr Juan-Manuel Alonso, Sports Medicine Department, Aspetar Qatar Orthopedics and Sports Medicine Hospital, PO Box 29222, Doha, Qatar; juan-manuel.alonso{at}


Background Movement towards sport safety in Athletics through the introduction of preventive strategies requires consensus on definitions and methods for reporting epidemiological data in the various populations of athletes.

Objective To define health-related incidents (injuries and illnesses) that should be recorded in epidemiological studies in Athletics, and the criteria for recording their nature, cause and severity, as well as standards for data collection and analysis procedures.

Methods A 1-day meeting of 14 experts from eight countries representing a range of Athletics stakeholders and sport science researchers was facilitated. Definitions of injuries and illnesses, study design and data collection for epidemiological studies in Athletics were discussed during the meeting. Two members of the group produced a draft statement after this meeting, and distributed to the group members for their input. A revision was prepared, and the procedure was repeated to finalise the consensus statement.

Results Definitions of injuries and illnesses and categories for recording of their nature, cause and severity were provided. Essential baseline information was listed. Guidelines on the recording of exposure data during competition and training and the calculation of prevalence and incidences were given. Finally, methodological guidance for consistent recording and reporting on injury and illness in athletics was described.

Conclusions This consensus statement provides definitions and methodological guidance for epidemiological studies in Athletics. Consistent use of the definitions and methodological guidance would lead to more reliable and comparable evidence.

  • Injury Prevention
  • Athletics
  • Epidemiology
  • Sporting injuries

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