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How much is too much? (Part 1) International Olympic Committee consensus statement on load in sport and risk of injury
  1. Torbjørn Soligard1,
  2. Martin Schwellnus2,
  3. Juan-Manuel Alonso3,
  4. Roald Bahr3,4,5,
  5. Ben Clarsen4,5,
  6. H Paul Dijkstra3,
  7. Tim Gabbett6,7,
  8. Michael Gleeson8,
  9. Martin Hägglund9,
  10. Mark R Hutchinson10,
  11. Christa Janse van Rensburg2,
  12. Karim M Khan11,
  13. Romain Meeusen12,
  14. John W Orchard13,
  15. Babette M Pluim14,15,
  16. Martin Raftery16,
  17. Richard Budgett1,
  18. Lars Engebretsen1,4,17
  1. 1Medical and Scientific Department, International Olympic Committee, Lausanne, Switzerland
  2. 2Section Sports Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, Institute for Sport, Exercise Medicine and Lifestyle Research, University of Pretoria, Hatfield,Pretoria, South Africa
  3. 3Sports Medicine Department, Aspetar, Qatar Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Hospital, Doha, Qatar
  4. 4Oslo Sports Trauma Research Center, Department of Sports Medicine, Norwegian School of Sport Sciences, Oslo, Norway
  5. 5Olympic Training Center (Olympiatoppen), Oslo, Norway
  6. 6School of Exercise Science, Australian Catholic University, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
  7. 7School of Human Movement Studies, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia
  8. 8School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, Loughborough University, Loughborough, UK
  9. 9Department of Medical and Health Sciences, Division of Physiotherapy, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden
  10. 10Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, USA
  11. 11Department of Family Practice, Centre for Hip Health and Mobility, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
  12. 12Human Physiology Research Group, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels, Belgium
  13. 13School of Public Health, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia
  14. 14Medical Department, Royal Dutch Lawn Tennis Association, Amersfoort, The Netherlands
  15. 15Amsterdam Collaboration on Health and Safety in Sports, IOC Research Centre for Prevention of Injury and Protection of Athlete Health, VUmc/AMC, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  16. 16World Rugby, Dublin, Ireland
  17. 17Faculty of Medicine, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway
  1. Correspondence to Dr Torbjørn Soligard, Medical and Scientific Department, International Olympic Committee, Château de Vidy, Lausanne 1007, Switzerland; torbjorn.soligard{at}


Athletes participating in elite sports are exposed to high training loads and increasingly saturated competition calendars. Emerging evidence indicates that poor load management is a major risk factor for injury. The International Olympic Committee convened an expert group to review the scientific evidence for the relationship of load (defined broadly to include rapid changes in training and competition load, competition calendar congestion, psychological load and travel) and health outcomes in sport. We summarise the results linking load to risk of injury in athletes, and provide athletes, coaches and support staff with practical guidelines to manage load in sport. This consensus statement includes guidelines for (1) prescription of training and competition load, as well as for (2) monitoring of training, competition and psychological load, athlete well-being and injury. In the process, we identified research priorities.

  • Load
  • Recovery
  • Fatigue
  • Injury
  • Well-being

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