Epidemiology of injury and retirement from sport among retired international athletes

Dale Cooper, Mary S O'Hanlon, Mark Batt, Debbie Palmer

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Background High-level athletesare at an increased risk of injury. Relatively little is known about theprevalence of career-ending injuries in high-levelsport.<o:p></o:p> Objective To determine inretired international athletes: (1) the prevalence of significant injury and earlyretirement, and (2) if those with generalised joint hypermobility (GJH) aremore likely to sustain a significant injury.<o:p></o:p> Design Cross-sectional study.<o:p></o:p> Setting Data from a survey ofretired Olympic athletes.<o:p></o:p> Participants 605 retired athletes,aged 40-97 years, 40% female (n = 244) who had competed internationally for Great Britain at theSummer and/or Winter Olympic Games.<o:p></o:p> Interventions Data collected on reasons for retirementfrom competitive sport including the type and location of significant injury. Avalidated line drawing instrument was used to measure generalised jointhypermobility (GJH) (Beighton > 4/9).<o:p></o:p> Main Outcome Measurements Injury forced retirement from a competitivesports career. <o:p></o:p> Results Of those who replied to the questionnaire (n = 714), 84.7% (n = 605) were retired fromsport, and 21.8% (n = 132) of thoseretired from sport reported that they had retired early because of injury. Themain locations of injuries that were reported to be responsible for retirementfrom sport were the lower back (25.8%), knee (25.0%), lower leg (8.3%), ankle(7.6%), Achilles tendon (6.8%), shoulder (6.8%), hip (5.3%), and thigh (5.3%).The main types of injury reported to be responsible for early retirement fromsport were soft tissue related (23.9%), injuries to the intervertebral disc(19.0%), intervertebral joint (18.2%), and cartilage injuries at the hip andknee (9.1%). Overall, GJH was not associated with a significant injury infemale [OR 1.25; 95% CI, 0.62-2.50] or male athletes [OR 0.76; 95% CI,0.35-1.65].<o:p></o:p> Conclusions Injury is a major cause of early retirement among high-level athletes.However, those with GJH were no more likely to sustain a significant injury.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 1 Mar 2021
EventIOC World Conference on Prevention of Injury & Illness in Sport - Grimaldi Forum Monaco, Monaco, Monaco
Duration: 11 Feb 202113 Feb 2021


ConferenceIOC World Conference on Prevention of Injury & Illness in Sport


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