Injury and illness surveillance at the International Sailing Federation Sailing World Championships 2014

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The Sailing World Championships 2014 was contested by 1167 sailors in all 10 Olympic classes. Our objective was to characterise sailing-related injuries and illnesses in sailors participating in this regatta.


We conducted 2 surveys: (1) prior to the World Championships, sailors answered a 12-month recall questionnaire on sailing-related injuries and illnesses and (2) during the Championships, injuries and illnesses were documented.


There were 760 respondents (65% of all participants) for the 12-month recall questionnaire (58% male, 42% female), of whom 244 participants reported 299 injuries (0.59 injuries per 1000 h of sailing). Injuries were most prevalent in the 49erFX (64%), RS:X Women (39%), 49er (37%) and Nacra 17 (36%). Lower back (29% of sailors), knee (13%), shoulder (12%) and ankle (10%) injuries were most prevalent; most (58% of all injuries) were overuse injuries; and 56% of sailors lost sailing time. Most illnesses (40%) were infections, primarily of the respiratory system (43%). During the Championships, there were 67 injuries (4 per 1000 days of sailing). The 49er (24% of all injuries), 470 Men and Women (24%), and 49erFX (19%) had the highest incidence. Injuries to the hand/fingers (22% of all injuries), back (18%), and foot (12%) were most common, as were contusions (37% of all injuries), cuts/lacerations (24%), and sprains (9%). Of the 29 illnesses (2 per 1000 days of sailing), 9 (31%) were gastrointestinal and 6 (21%) respiratory, while 2 (7%) were gout attacks.


The Olympic classes introduced since 2000 (49erFX, 49er, Nacra 17) have resulted in a rise in injuries.

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