The main focus in this retrospective cohort study is the prevalence and type of injuries and health problems in Norwegian female biathlon athletes. The data are based on self reported information thru a questionnaire sent to female biathlon athletes. The study aims to identify risk factors, and analyze the correlation between injuries/health problems, and variables such as training history, age, body size and socio-demographic status.
Biathlon has increased its popularity in Norway and internationally thru the last 20 years. Biathlon has traditionally been a male sport, but the number of international female biathlon athletes is growing; in Norway the numbers of female biathlon athletes has increased by 33% the last four seasons. The Norwegian Biathlon Federation (NSSF) sports medicine team is facing some health and injury problems among both male and female athletes. Biathlon has become more demanding for most of the athletes, with significant increases in number of races, and total and daily numbers of kilometres raced. This situation may result in increasing training loads, higher demands for recovery and nutrition, and may lead to an increased risk for injuries, fatigue, overuse problems and stress. Biathlon is an endurance sport with witch requires high training loads and intensity, sufficient strength and technique, and adequate nutrition intake. Few studies regarding potential health problems in female biathlon athletes exist. It is important to identify possible health problems and injury mechanisms to prevent negative health outcome.
Subjects included are all female biathlon athletes from 16 years of age, who are registered as member in NSSF and are licensed to compete nationally or internationally in the biathlon seasons 2005/2006 and 2006/2007. Subjects excluded are former female biathlon athletes registered as member of NSSF only to support the federation. The main objective for this study is; to acquire knowledge about injuries and health problems related to female biathlon, work out regimes for preventing and treating eventually health problems, prevent drop-out from Norwegian female biathlon, and to contribute to improved performance for these athletes.