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Carefully executed studies of illness in elite sport: still room to improve methods in at least five ways
  1. Hilde Moseby Berge1,2,
  2. Ben Clarsen1,2
  1. 1 The Norwegian Olympic Training Center (Olympiatoppen), Oslo, Norway
  2. 2 Oslo Sports Trauma Research Center, Oslo, Norway
  1. Correspondence to Dr Hilde Moseby Berge, The Norwegian Olympic Training Center (Olympiatoppen), Sognsveien 228, Oslo 0840, Norway; hilde.moseby.berge{at}

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In the first1 of our two editorials we discussed if cross-country skiers were more prone to illness than soccer players, illustrated by the carefully executed studies of illness by Svendsen et al 2 and Bjorneboe et al.3 In this second editorial, we discuss why counting and comparing numbers in these kind of studies are associated with methodological challenges.

How do you count illnesses?

In the cross-country skiing study, Svendsen et al counted an infectious event whenever an athlete reported one or more symptoms on two or more consecutive days. In the soccer study, Bjorneboe et al counted an illness episode as any physical or psychological symptom that resulted in the player being unable to participate fully in training or match play. In studies reporting incidence of illness during the Olympic and Paralympic Games, any athlete requiring medical attention was counted.2 ,3 These definitions appear to have simply replaced injuries by illness in the same context.4 Maybe that …

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  • Twitter Follow Hilde Moseby Berge at @HildeMBerge and Benjamin Clarsen at @benclarsen

  • Competing interests None declared.

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

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