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Health problems among elite Dutch youth long track speed skaters: a one-season prospective study
  1. Matthias Hendricks1,2,
  2. Alexander T M van de Water3,4,
  3. Evert Verhagen1
  1. 1Amsterdam Collaboration on Health & Safety in Sports, Department of Public and Occupational Health, Amsterdam Movement Sciences, Amsterdam UMC, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  2. 2Department of Neuromotor Behavior and Exercise, Institute of Sport and Exercise Sciences, University of Münster, Münster, Germany
  3. 3School of Allied Health, Human Services and Sport, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  4. 4AdPhysio: Research, Training & Consultancy, Apeldoorn, The Netherlands
  1. Correspondence to Matthias Hendricks, Amsterdam Collaboration on Health & Safety in Sports, Department of Public and Occupational Health, Amsterdam Movement Sciences, Amsterdam UMC Locatie VUmc, Amsterdam 1081 HV, Netherlands; matthias.hendricks{at}


Objectives To describe the frequency, type, and severity of health problems in long-track speed skating to inform injury prevention strategies.

Methods We prospectively collected weekly health and sport exposure data on 84 highly trained Dutch athletes aged 15–21 years during the 2019/2020 season using the Oslo Sports Trauma Research Centre questionnaire on Health Problems and the trainers’ documentation. We categorised health problems into acute or repetitive mechanisms of injury or illness and calculated incidences (per 1000 sports exposure hours), weekly prevalence and burden (days of time loss per 1000 sports exposure hours) related to the affected body region.

Results We registered 283 health problems (187 injuries, 96 illnesses), yielding an average weekly prevalence of health problems of 30.5% (95% CI 28.7% to 32.2%). Incidence rates were 2.0/1000 hours for acute mechanism injuries (95% CI 1.5 to 2.5) and 3.2/1000 hours for illnesses (95% CI 2.6 to 3.9). For acute mechanism injuries the head, shoulder and lumbosacral region had the highest injury burden of 5.6 (95% CI 4.8 to 6.5), 2.9 (95% CI 2.3 to 3.5) and 2.2 (95% CI 1.7 to 2.8) days of time loss/1000 hours, respectively. For repetitive mechanism injuries, the knee, thoracic spine, lower leg and lumbosacral region had the highest injury burden, with 11.0 (95% CI 9.8 to 12.2), 6.8 (95% CI 5.9 to 7.7), 3.9 (95% CI 3.2 to 4.6) and 2.5 (95% CI 1.9 to 3.1) days of time loss/1000 hours, respectively.

Conclusion Our study demonstrated a high prevalence of acute and repetitive mechanism injuries in speed skating. These results can guide future research and priorities for injury prevention.

  • Epidemiology
  • Sporting injuries
  • Skating
  • Cohort Studies

Data availability statement

Data are available on reasonable request.

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Data availability statement

Data are available on reasonable request.

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  • X @Evertverhagen

  • Contributors All authors contributed to the conception of the study, the interpretation of the results, and the preparation this manuscript. All authors critically revised the manuscript and approved the final version of the manuscript. MH coordinated the data collection and was responsible for data analysis and drafting of the manuscript. MH is the guarantor.

  • 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 and public involvement Patients and/or the public were involved in the design, or conduct, or reporting, or dissemination plans of this research. Refer to the Methods section for further details.

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