Background The international Netball World Cup (NWC) is contested every four years and 16 teams qualify to participate, based on their world ranking. The risk, nature and severity of illness at the NWC is not known.
Objective To determine the incidence, severity and reporting of illness by players during the NWC in 2019.
Design Prospective study, cross sectional analysis.
Setting Netball World Cup 2019, Liverpool, England.
Patients (or Participants) 192 elite female netball players from all 16 contesting teams at the NWC (average squad size 12 players).
Interventions (or Assessment of Risk Factors) Medical staff of each team recorded all illness (1440 player days) and training/match days lost during the 10-day tournament.
Main Outcome Measurements Incidence rates (IR) (per 1000 player-days; 95% CI) and severity (% time-loss ≥1 day) of all illness.
Results In total 11 illnesses were recorded. The overall crude IR of illness was 7.6 (3.1–12.2). Organ systems most affected was the respiratory- (27%), followed by gastrointestinal- (18%) and urogenital tract (18%). More common illness, by specific diagnosis, was acute upper respiratory infection (18%), non-infective gastroenteritis (18%) and dysmenorrhea (18%). Cause of illness was similar for non-infective (5.6; 1.7–9.4) and infective (2.1; 0.3–4.4) illness (p=0.227). Time-loss of ≥1 day was reported for 9% of all illness. Illness by player position was common in goal keepers (27%), goal defenders (27%), followed by goal shooters (18%). Illness was reported on a match day in 81% cases (match day with a training session=45%; match day without training=36%).
Conclusions There is a moderate incidence of illness during the 2019 NWC, but we note that >80% of players only report illness on match days. We suggest that players be educated to report illness early (at onset of first symptoms), so that treatment can commence before match day. We recommend implementing illness prevention programs prior to and at future international netball tournaments.
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