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  1. Toomas Timpka1,
  2. Jenny Jacobsson1,2,
  3. Victor Bargoria1,3,
  4. Julien Periard4,
  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 Alonso12
  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, 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, University Hospital of Saint-Etienne, Saint-Etienne, France
  10. 10Inter-university Laboratory of Human Movement Biology (LIBM EA 7424), University of Lyon, Saint Etienne, France
  11. 11Medical Commission, French Athletics Federation (FFA), Paris, France
  12. 12Sports Medicine Department, Aspetar Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Hospital, Doha, Qatar


    Background During the month before world championships in individual sports, about one-third of athletes are disturbed by injury complaints. Athletics athletes reporting a pre-championship gradual-onset injury complaint are known to be at increased risk to sustain an injury at the upcoming competitions. Predictors for in-championship illness and the predictive value of anxiety associated with pre-participation injury and illness complaints have not been investigated.

    Objective To determine pre-participation predictors of injury and illness at a major Athletics championship.

    Design Prospective cohort study.

    Setting The 2015 IAAF World Championships in Athletics.

    Participants 307 (32.1%) of 957 athletes in 50 national teams that accepted to participate.

    Assessment of Risk Factors Sex, age, home continent, event category and pre-participation health complaints with qualifiers (injury or illness complaint, onset type (injury complaints only), reduction in participation, severity estimated by duration of time loss, associated anxiety, expected performance impact, etc.).

    Main Outcome Measurements In-championship injury and in-championship illness.

    Results 116 athletes (38.3%) of the participating athletes reported an injury complaint during the month before the championships, while 40 athletes (13%) reported an illness complaint. Twenty athletes (6.5%) sustained an injury or illness during the championships. Endurance athletes were almost tenfold more likely to sustain an in-championship illness than speed/power athletes (OR, 9.88; 95% CI, 1.20–81.31; P=0.033). Participants reporting a pre-participation gradual-onset injury complaint were three times more likely (OR, 3.09; 95% CI, 1.08–8.79; P=0.035) and those reporting an illness complaint causing anxiety were fivefold more likely (OR, 5.56; 95% CI, 1.34–23.15; P=0.018) to sustain an in-championship injury.

    Conclusions Endurance athletes require particular clinical attention at major Athletics championships. Pre-participation complaints causing anxiety are interesting predictors for in-championship health problems. Diagnostic criteria for different types of exertion-related illness and the clinical and educational services provided to athletes preparing for championships in individual sports warrant further study.

    • Injury

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