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Competing with injuries: injuries prior to and during the 15th FINA World Championships 2013 (aquatics)
  1. Margo Mountjoy1,2,3,
  2. Astrid Junge4,5,6,
  3. Sarah Benjamen7,
  4. Kevin Boyd2,8,
  5. Mohamed Diop2,
  6. David Gerrard2,9,
  7. Cees-Rein van den Hoogenband2,
  8. Saul Marks2,10,
  9. Enrique Martinez-Ruiz11,
  10. Jim Miller2,12,
  11. Kyriakos Nanousis2,
  12. Farhad Moradi Shahpar2,13,
  13. Jose Veloso2,14,
  14. William van Mechelen15,
  15. Evert Verhagen15,16
  1. 1Department of Family Medicine, Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine, McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada
  2. 2Fédération Internationale de Natation (FINA), Lausanne, Switzerland
  3. 3International Olympic Committee (IOC), Lausanne, Switzerland
  4. 4Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) Medical Assessment and Research Centre (F-MARC), Zürich, Switzerland
  5. 5Schulthess Klinik, Zürich, Switzerland
  6. 6Hamburg Medical School (MSH), Germany
  7. 7University of Southampton, Southampton, Great Britain
  8. 8University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, Leicester, Great Britain
  9. 9Medicine Department, Dunedin School of Medicine, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand
  10. 10Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada
  11. 11Catholic University of San Antonio, Murcia, Spain
  12. 12Medicine Department, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, and Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia, USA
  13. 13Department of Sport Medicine, Faculty of Physical Education and Sports Sciences, University of Isfahan, Isfahan, Iran
  14. 14Faculty of Biological Sciences, Catholic University of Uruguay, Montevideo, Uruguay
  15. 15Department of Public and Occupational Health, EMGO+ Institute for Health and Care Research, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  16. 16Australian Centre for Research into Injury in Sport and its Prevention (ACRISP), Federation University Australia, SMB Campus, Ballarat, Victoria, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Margo Mountjoy; FINA c/o Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine, McMaster University Waterloo Regional Campus, 10-B Victoria Street South, Kitchener, Ontario, Canada N2G 1C5; mmsportdoc{at}


Background Injury and illness surveillance is the foundation for the development of prevention strategies.

Objective To examine injuries among the aquatic disciplines in the 4 weeks prior to and during the 2013 FINA World Championships.

Methods The study was comprised of two components: (1) a retrospective athlete survey recording injuries in the 4 weeks prior to the Championships and (2) a prospective recording of injuries and illnesses by the medical teams of the participating countries and the local host medical team.

Results One-third of the 1116 responding athletes reported an injury/physical complaint in the 4 weeks prior to the Championships. Significantly more women (36.7%) than men (28.6%) reported injuries. Divers reported the highest rate of injury/physical complaints (55.7%). At the start of the Championships, 70% of injured respondents (n=258) were still symptomatic; however, full participation was expected by 76%. During the Championships, 186 new injuries were reported (8.3/100 registered athletes) with the highest injury incidence rate in water polo (15.3/100 registered athletes). The most common injured body part was the shoulder (21%). A total of 199 illnesses were reported during the Championships (9.0/100 registered athletes) with the most common diagnosis of illness being gastrointestinal infection. Environmental exposure (allergy, otitis and jellyfish stings) was responsible for 27% of all illnesses in open water swimming.

Conclusions Injuries pose a significant health risk for elite aquatic athletes. A prospective study would improve understanding of out-of-competition injuries. Future injury and illness surveillance at FINA World Championships is required to direct and measure the impact of prevention strategies.

  • Injury
  • Prevention
  • Illness
  • Elite performance
  • Swimming
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