Sports injuries and illnesses in the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games

Torbjørn Soligard, Kathrin Steffen, Debbie Palmer-Green, Mark Aubry, Marie-Elaine Grant, Willem Meeuwisse, Margo Mountjoy, Richard Budgett, Lars Engebretsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Background: Systematic surveillance of injuries and illnesses is the foundation for developing preventive measures in sport.

Aim: To analyse the injuries and illnesses that occurred during the XXII Olympic Winter Games, held in Sochi in 2014.

Methods: We recorded the daily occurrence (or non-occurrence) of injuries and illnesses (1) through the reporting of all National Olympic Committee (NOC) medical teams and (2) in the polyclinic and medical venues by the Sochi 2014 medical staff.

Results: NOC and Sochi 2014 medical staff reported 391 injuries and 249 illnesses among 2780 athletes from 88 NOCs, equalling incidences of 14 injuries and 8.9 illnesses per 100 athletes over an 18-day period of time. Altogether, 12% and 8% of the athletes incurred at least one injury or illness, respectively. The percentage of athletes injured was highest in aerial skiing, snowboard slopestyle, snowboard cross, slopestyle skiing, halfpipe skiing, moguls skiing, alpine skiing, and snowboard halfpipe. Thirty-nine per cent of the injuries were expected to prevent the athlete from participating in competition or training. Women suffered 50% more illnesses than men. The rate of illness was highest in skeleton, short track, curling, cross-country skiing, figure skating, bobsleigh and aerial skiing. A total of 159 illnesses (64%) affected the respiratory system, and the most common cause of illness was infection (n=145, 58%).

Conclusions: Overall, 12% of the athletes incurred at least one injury during the games, and 8% an illness, which is similar to prior Olympic Games. The incidence of injuries and illnesses varied substantially between sports.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)441-447
Number of pages7
JournalBritish Journal of Sports Medicine
Issue number7
Early online date28 Jan 2015
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 28 Jan 2015


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