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Injury characteristics in male youth athletics: a five-season prospective study in a full-time sports academy
  1. Daniel Martínez-Silván1,2,
  2. Eirik Halvorsen Wik3,4,
  3. Juan Manuel Alonso5,
  4. Evan Jeanguyot6,
  5. Benjamin Salcinovic6,
  6. Amanda Johnson7,
  7. Marco Cardinale3,8
  1. 1National Sports Medicine Program, Aspetar Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Hospital, Doha, Qatar
  2. 2Aspire Academy Sports Medicine Center, Aspire Academy, Doha, Qatar
  3. 3Department of Research and Scientific Support, Aspetar Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Hospital, Doha, Qatar
  4. 4Oslo Sports Trauma Research Center, Department of Sports Medicine, Norwegian School of Sport Sciences, Oslo, Norway
  5. 5Sports Medicine, Aspetar Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Hospital, Doha, Qatar
  6. 6Rehabilitation Department, Aspetar Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Hospital, Doha, Qatar
  7. 7School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK
  8. 8Department of Computer Science and Institute of Sport Exercise and Health, University College London, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Daniel Martínez-Silván, National Sports Medicine Program, Aspetar Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Hospital, Doha, Ad Dawhah, Qatar; dmsilvan{at}


Objectives To describe the injury characteristics of male youth athletes exposed to year-round athletics programmes.

Methods Injury surveillance data were prospectively collected by medical staff in a cohort of youth athletics athletes participating in a full-time sports academy from 2014–2015 to 2018–2019. Time-loss injuries (>1 day) were recorded following consensus procedures for athletics. Athletes were clustered into five event groups (sprints, jumps, endurance, throws and non-specialised) and the number of completed training and competition sessions (athletics exposures (AE)) were calculated for each athlete per completed season (one athlete season). Injury characteristics were reported overall and by event groups as injury incidence (injuries per 1000 AE) and injury burden (days lost per 1000 AE).

Results One-hundred and seventy-eight boys (14.9±1.8 years old) completed 391 athlete seasons, sustaining 290 injuries. The overall incidence was 4.0 injuries per 1000 AE and the overall burden was 79.1 days lost per 1000 AE. The thigh was the most common injury location (19%). Muscle strains (0.7 injuries per 1000 AE) and bone stress injuries (0.5 injuries per 1000 AE) presented the highest incidence and stress fractures the highest burden (17.6 days lost per 1000 AE). The most burdensome injury types by event group were: bone stress injuries for endurance, hamstring strains for sprints, stress fractures for jumps, lesion of meniscus/cartilage for throws and growth plate injuries for non-specialised athletes.

Conclusion Acute muscle strains, stress fractures and bone stress injuries were identified as the main injury concerns in this cohort of young male athletics athletes. The injury characteristics differed between event groups.

  • adolescent
  • athletics
  • epidemiology
  • injuries
  • prospective study design

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  • Twitter @physiodmsilvan, @eirikwik, @DrJuanMAlonso, @Marco_Cardinale

  • Collaborators David de Andres Lopez. Abdallah Rejeb.

  • Contributors DMS, JMA, MC and AJ participated in the design and conception of the study. DMS, BS and EJ were responsible for data collection. DMS and EHW performed the data analysis and table designs and all the authors contributed to the interpretation. DMS drafted the manuscript and all the authors revised it critically and gave their approval of the final version.

  • 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 Ethics approval was granted from the Anti-Doping Lab Qatar Institutional Review Board (IRB Application #E20140000012).

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

  • Data availability statement All data relevant to the study are included in the article or uploaded as online supplemental information. Deidentified participant data available under reasonable request.

  • Supplemental material This content has been supplied by the author(s). It has not been vetted by BMJ Publishing Group Limited (BMJ) and may not have been peer-reviewed. Any opinions or recommendations discussed are solely those of the author(s) and are not endorsed by BMJ. BMJ disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on the content. Where the content includes any translated material, BMJ does not warrant the accuracy and reliability of the translations (including but not limited to local regulations, clinical guidelines, terminology, drug names and drug dosages), and is not responsible for any error and/or omissions arising from translation and adaptation or otherwise.

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