The World Championships in Athletics are now over. Many of the athletes have probably returned home ill or injured. 14 percent of the athletes in the Berlin-WC did just that.
(Foto: Wikimedia Commons)
A group of scientists set sights on analyzing the frequency of, and the signs for, injuries and illness in the championship in the German capital in 2009.
In close cooperation with the athletes themselves, the organizers medical center and the national team physcicians/physiotherapists all injuries and illnesses were recorded.
Legs at risk
Among the 1979 athletes there were registered 236 injury incidents. Among those 262 body parts were injured, with a total of 269 injury types. In other words (or numbers) there were 135.4 injuries per 1000 registered athletes.
80 percent of the injuries affected the lower extremity, with thigh strain (13.8 %) as the main diagnosis. Overuse (44.1 %) was the predominant cause.
85.9 percent of the injuries were incurred during competition, and 43.9 percent of all injury events were expected to result in time-loss.
135 illnesses were reported, an average of 68.2 per 1000 registered athletes. The most common diagnosis was upper respiratory tract infection, accounting for 30.4 percent of the cases.
Different infections were the most frequent cause (32.6 %).
The incidence of injury and illnesses varied substantially among the different events.
Variation and specificity
The risk of injury varied with each discipline. The researchers conclude that preventive measures should be specific, and focused on minimising the potential for overuse injuries.
Attention should be paid to ensure adequate rehabilitation of previous injuries.
The addition of the illness part to the injury surveillance system proved to be feasible.
As most illnesses were caused by infection of the respiratory tract, or were enviromentally related, preventive interventions should focus on decreasing the risk of transmission, appropriate event scheduling and heat acclimatisation.
Read the whole article as published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine (pdf).
This study was led by Juan-Manuel Alonso (Spain), and conducted in cooperation with Philippe M. Tscholl, Lars Engebretsen, Margo Mountjoy, Jiri Dvorak og Astrid Junge.