Sports injuries and illnesses at the Lausanne 2020 Youth Olympic Winter Games: A prospective study of 1,783 athletes from 79 countries

Debbie Palmer, Lars Engebretsen, Justin Carrard, Natalia Grek, Karsten Königstein, Debbie J. Maurer, Thomas Roos, Lauren Stollenwerk, Stephane Tercier, Raphael Weinguni, Torbjørn Soligard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Objective To describe the injury and illness characteristics among participating athletes during the Lausanne 2020 Youth Olympic Winter Games (YOG 2020), 9–22 January 2020.
Methods The daily number of athlete injuries and illnesses were recorded (1) through the reporting of all National Olympic Committee (NOC) medical teams and (2) in the polyclinic and medical venues by the Lausanne 2020 medical staff.
Results In total, 1783 athletes from 79 NOCs were observed. NOC and Lausanne 2020 medical staff reported 228 injuries and 167 illnesses, equating 11.7 injuries and 8.6 illnesses per 100 athletes over the 14-day period. Injury incidence was highest for snowboard slopestyle (39%), bobsleigh (36%), snowboard big air (29%), ski slopestyle (29%), snowboard cross (24%) and ski cross (21%), and lowest for speed skating, snowboard halfpipe and curling (2%–4%). The highest incidence of illness was recorded for curling (21%), ski mountaineering (15%), snowboard halfpipe (13%), bobsleigh (11%), cross-country skiing (10%) and figure skating (10%). Almost one-third of injuries were expected to result in time loss and 17% of illnesses. Most injuries occurred to the knee (12%) and head (11%), and 64% of illnesses affected the respiratory system. Overall, women suffered more injuries and illness than males.
Conclusion Overall, injury and illness rates were similar compared with recent YOG. While the rate and characteristics of injury and illness varied between sports, consistent patterns across YOG are emerging. If addressed, changes in highlighted areas of risk could have a positive impact on the health and well-being of these young athletes.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages8
JournalBritish Journal of Sports Medicine
Early online date3 Mar 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 3 Mar 2021


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