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There has been a lot of focus on the prevention of injuries in sport, while the prevention of illnesses has sparsely been studied. Hence, the papers by Svendsen et al 1 and Bjorneboe et al 2 describing the incidence of illnesses in cross-country skiers and soccer players, respectively, are valuable contributions. In this, the first of two editorials we discuss those athletes most prone to illness, and how to modify their risk.
Incidence and duration of illness
The cross-country skiers reported 3.4 illness events and 19 days of symptoms per year, while the soccer players experienced 0.4 illnesses per season. Median duration of symptoms in cross-country skiers was 5 days, compared to 3 days of absence from training or match play in soccer players. These numbers might not represent a true difference though, since the soccer players could have returned to play with some remaining symptoms, hence decreasing the median and only symptoms that lasted two or more consecutive days were reported for cross-country skiers, hence increasing …