Background Health risk mitigation strategies in sport commence with establishing injury and illness burden trends. There is little health surveillance data to inform threats to Short Track Speed Skating (STSS) training and performance. Further, the published research employs various injury definitions, data collection procedures and results presentation, limiting intergroup comparisons.
Objective To present health surveillance data from the Great Britain STSS (GBSTSS) elite training group across two competitive seasons and to recommend data collection and standardised injury and illness definitions.
Design Retrospective health surveillance report.
Setting Analysis of English Institute of Sport Performance Data Management System (PDMS) medical records alongside athlete reported training time and activity from GBSTSS athletes based in Nottingham, UK.
Patients (or Participants) Fifteen athletes from the GBSTSS World Class Programme squad. Nine males aged 17–33 years (mean 22.7 ±5.21) and six females aged 17–26 (mean 22.7 ±3.01).
Main Outcome Measurements Number of injuries/illness by body area, cause and incidence (per 1000 hrs of STSS).
Results In 2016–18 182 new injuries/illness were reported to the medical staff at GBSTSS. 126 of these (69%) incurred any time loss/time restriction from training or competition. The sum of time loss/time restricted days was 1346 (illness and injury). The biggest threats to athlete availability in the GBSTSS programme were thigh, knee and lumbar spine injuries. The overall incidence per 1000 h of varied short track training and competition was 9.9 time loss episodes/1000 h (injury 4.4/1000 & illness 5.5/1000).
Conclusions Injury had a larger impact on athlete availability in the GBSTSS despite the incidence of illness being greater. This data can be used to inform mitigation strategies in practitioners working to reduce time loss in the sport. STSS should follow other sports in agreeing definitions, methodologies and reporting procedures through consensus to improve consistency of data and intergroup comparisons, this should include incidence exposure based on hours of STSS activity.
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