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Sports injuries and illnesses in the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games
  1. Torbjørn Soligard1,
  2. Kathrin Steffen2,
  3. Debbie Palmer-Green3,
  4. Mark Aubry4,
  5. Marie-Elaine Grant5,
  6. Willem Meeuwisse6,
  7. Margo Mountjoy7,
  8. Richard Budgett1,
  9. Lars Engebretsen1,2,8
  1. 1Medical & Scientific Department, International Olympic Committee, Lausanne, Switzerland
  2. 2Department of Sports Medicine, Oslo Sports Trauma Research Center, Norwegian School of Sport Sciences, Oslo, Norway
  3. 3Department of Academic Orthopaedics, Trauma and Sports Medicine, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK
  4. 4International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF), Zurich, Switzerland
  5. 5Institute of Sport and Health, University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
  6. 6Faculty of Kinesiology, Sport Injury Prevention Research Centre, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
  7. 7Fédération International de Natation (FINA), Lausanne, Switzerland
  8. 8Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway
  1. Correspondence to Torbjørn Soligard, Medical & Scientific Department, International Olympic Committee, Château de Vidy, Lausanne 1007, Switzerland; torbjorn.soligard{at}


Background Systematic surveillance of injuries and illnesses is the foundation for developing preventive measures in sport.

Aim To analyse the injuries and illnesses that occurred during the XXII Olympic Winter Games, held in Sochi in 2014.

Methods We recorded the daily occurrence (or non-occurrence) of injuries and illnesses (1) through the reporting of all National Olympic Committee (NOC) medical teams and (2) in the polyclinic and medical venues by the Sochi 2014 medical staff.

Results NOC and Sochi 2014 medical staff reported 391 injuries and 249 illnesses among 2780 athletes from 88 NOCs, equalling incidences of 14 injuries and 8.9 illnesses per 100 athletes over an 18-day period of time. Altogether, 12% and 8% of the athletes incurred at least one injury or illness, respectively. The percentage of athletes injured was highest in aerial skiing, snowboard slopestyle, snowboard cross, slopestyle skiing, halfpipe skiing, moguls skiing, alpine skiing, and snowboard halfpipe. Thirty-nine per cent of the injuries were expected to prevent the athlete from participating in competition or training. Women suffered 50% more illnesses than men. The rate of illness was highest in skeleton, short track, curling, cross-country skiing, figure skating, bobsleigh and aerial skiing. A total of 159 illnesses (64%) affected the respiratory system, and the most common cause of illness was infection (n=145, 58%).

Conclusions Overall, 12% of the athletes incurred at least one injury during the games, and 8% an illness, which is similar to prior Olympic Games. The incidence of injuries and illnesses varied substantially between sports.

  • surveillance
  • injury
  • illness
  • winter sports
  • elite athletes
  • prevention

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