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Preparticipation predictors for championship injury and illness: cohort study at the Beijing 2015 International Association of Athletics Federations World Championships
  1. Toomas Timpka1,
  2. Jenny Jacobsson1,2,
  3. Victor Bargoria1,3,
  4. Julien D Périard4,
  5. Sébastien Racinais4,
  6. Ola Ronsen5,6,
  7. Karin Halje1,7,
  8. Christer Andersson1,
  9. Örjan Dahlström1,8,
  10. Armin Spreco1,
  11. Pascal Edouard9,10,11,
  12. Juan-Manuel Alonso5,12
  1. 1Athletics Research Center, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden
  2. 2Swedish Athletics Association, Stockholm, Sweden
  3. 3Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation, Moi University, Eldoret, Kenya
  4. 4Athlete Health and Performance Research Centre, Aspetar Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Hospital, Doha, Qatar
  5. 5Medical and Anti-doping Commission, International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), Monaco
  6. 6Aker Solutions, Lysaker, Norway
  7. 7Young Adults Centre, Region Östergötland, Linköping, Sweden
  8. 8Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden
  9. 9Department of Clinical and Exercise Physiology, Sports Medicine Unity, Faculty of Medicine, University Hospital of Saint-Etienne, Saint-Etienne, France
  10. 10Inter-university Laboratory of Human Movement Biology (LIBM EA 7424), University of Lyon, University Jean Monnet, Saint Etienne, France
  11. 11Medical Commission, French Athletics Federation (FFA), Paris, France
  12. 12Sports Medicine Department, Aspetar Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Hospital, Doha, Qatar
  1. Correspondence to Professor Toomas Timpka, Department of Medical and Health Sciences, Linköping University, Linköping SE-581 83, Sweden; toomas.timpka{at}


Objectives To determine preparticipation predictors of injury and illness at a major Athletics championship.

Methods A cohort study design was used. Before the 2015 International Association of Athletics Federations World Championships in Athletics, all 207 registered national teams were approached about partaking in a study of preparticipation health; 50 teams accepted. The athletes (n=957) in the participating teams were invited to complete a preparticipation health questionnaire (PHQ). New injuries and illnesses that occurred at the championships were prospectively recorded. Logistic regression analyses were performed with simple and multiple models using any in-championship injury and in-championship illness as outcomes.

Results The PHQ was completed by 307 (32.1%) of the invited athletes; 116 athletes (38.3%) reported an injury symptom during the month before the championships, while 40 athletes (13%) reported an illness symptom. 20 (6.5%) of the participating athletes sustained a health problem during the championships. Endurance athletes were almost 10-fold more likely to sustain an in-championship illness than speed/power athletes (OR, 9.88; 95% CI 1.20 to 81.31; p=0.033). Participants reporting a preparticipation gradual-onset injury symptom were three times more likely (OR, 3.09; 95% CI 1.08 to 8.79; p=0.035) and those reporting an illness symptom causing anxiety were fivefold more likely (OR, 5.56; 95% CI 1.34 to 23.15; p=0.018) to sustain an in-championship injury.

Summary and conclusions Analyses of preparticipation predictors of injury and illness at a major Athletics championship suggest that endurance athletes require particular clinical attention. Preparticipation symptoms causing anxiety are interesting predictors for in-championship health problems.

  • Sporting injuries
  • Athletics
  • Sport psychology
  • Injury prevention
  • Illness

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  • Twitter Follow Jenny Jacobsson at @Jenny_Jacobsson and Juan Manuel Alonso at @DrJuanMAlonso

  • Contributors TT, J-MA and OR made substantial contributions to the conception of the study. TT, J-MA, JJ, JDP, SR, OR and PE made substantial contributions to the study design. TT, J-MA, JJ, KH, VB and CA were involved in data collection. TT, OD and AS were involved in the analysis of the data. All authors made substantial contributions to data interpretation. TT made a substantial contribution to the drafting and writing of the article. All authors were involved in revising the manuscript and final approval of the version to be published.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Ethics approval Research Ethics Board in Linköping.

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