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Injury frequency and characteristics (location, type, cause and severity) differed significantly among athletics (‘track and field’) disciplines during 14 international championships (2007–2018): implications for medical service planning
  1. Pascal Edouard1,2,3,4,5,
  2. Laurent Navarro6,
  3. Pedro Branco4,7,
  4. Vincent Gremeaux3,8,
  5. Toomas Timpka9,
  6. Astrid Junge10,11
  1. 1Inter‐university Laboratory of Human Movement Science (LIBM EA 7424), University of Lyon, University Jean Monnet, Saint Etienne, France
  2. 2Department of Clinical and Exercise Physiology, Sports Medicine Unit, University Hospital of Saint-Etienne, Saint-Etienne, France
  3. 3Swiss Olympic Medical center, Centre de médecine du sport, Division de médecine physique et réadaptation, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois, Lausanne, Switzerland
  4. 4European Athletics Medical & Anti Doping Commission, European Athletics Association (EAA), Lausanne, Switzerland
  5. 5Medical Commission, French Athletics Federation (FFA), Paris, France
  6. 6Mines Saint-Etienne, INSERM, U 1059 Sainbiose, CIS, Univ Lyon, Univ Jean Monnet, Saint-Etienne, France
  7. 7Health and Science Commission, International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), Monaco, Monaco
  8. 8Institute of Sport Sciences, University of Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland
  9. 9Athletics Research Center, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden
  10. 10Prevention, Health Promotion and Sports Medicine, MSH Medical School Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
  11. 11Swiss Concussion Centre, Schulthess Klinik, Zurich, Switzerland
  1. Correspondence to Dr Pascal Edouard, University Hospital of Saint-Etienne, Saint-Etienne 42 055, France; Pascal.Edouard42{at}gmail.com

Abstract

Objective To analyse differences between athletic disciplines in the frequency and characteristics of injuries during international athletics championships.

Methods Study design, injury definition and data collection procedures were similar during the 14 international championships (2007–2018). National medical teams and local organising committee physicians reported all newly incurred injuries daily on a standardised injury report form. Results were presented as number of injuries and number of injuries per 1000 registered athletes, separately for male and female athletes, and for each discipline.

Results From a total of 8925 male and 7614 female registered athletes, 928 injuries were reported in male and 597 in female athletes. The discipline accounting for the highest proportion of injuries was sprints, for both men (24%) and women (26%). The number of injuries per 1000 registered athletes varied between disciplines for men and women: highest in combined events for male athletes (235 (95% CI 189 to 281)) and female athletes (212 (95% CI 166 to 257)), and lowest for male throwers (47 (95% CI 35 to 59)) and female throwers (32 (95% CI 21 to 43)) and for female race walkers (42 (95% CI 19 to 66)). Injury characteristics varied significantly between disciplines for location, type, cause and severity in male and female athletes. Thigh muscle injuries were the main diagnoses in the disciplines sprints, hurdles, jumps, combined events and race walking, lower leg muscle injuries in marathon running, lower leg skin injury in middle and long distance running, and trunk muscle and lower leg muscle injuries in throws.

Conclusions Injury characteristics differed substantially between disciplines during international athletics championships. Strategies for medical service provision (eg, staff, facilities) during athletics championships should be discipline specific and be prepared for targeting the main injuries in each discipline.

  • injury prevention
  • surveillance
  • epidemiology
  • athletics
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Footnotes

  • Contributors PE: substantial contributions to the conception and design of the study, collection, analysis and interpretation of the data, drafting, writing and revising of the manuscript, and approval of the final version to be published. LN: substantial contributions to the analysis and interpretation of the data, developing the figures, revision of the manuscript, and approval of the final version to be published. PB: substantial contributions to the conception and design of the study, collection and interpretation of the data, revision of the manuscript, and approval of the final version to be published. VG: substantial contributions to the revision of the manuscript, and approval of the final version to be published. TT: substantial contributions to the analysis and interpretation of the data, writing, revision of the manuscript, and approval of the final version to be published. AJ: substantial contributions to the conception and design of the project, analysis and interpretation of the data, writing and revision of the manuscript, and approval of the final version to be published.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Ethics approval The study was reviewed and approved by the Saint-Etienne University Hospital ethics committee (institutional review board: IORG0004981).

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

  • Data availability statement No data are available.

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