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Front. Sports Act. Living | doi: 10.3389/fspor.2019.00012

10 tips to hurdle the injuries and illnesses during major athletics championships: practical recommendations and resources

 Pascal EDOUARD1*, Andy Richardson2, Andrew Murray3, Jennifer Duncan3,  Danny Glover3, Marianna Kiss4, 5, Frédéric Depiesse6 and Pedro Branco7
  • 1Centre Hospitalier Universitaire (CHU) de Saint-Étienne, France
  • 2Newcastle University, United Kingdom
  • 3University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom
  • 4Independent researcher, Hungary
  • 5National Institute of Sports Medicine (Hungary), Hungary
  • 6University Hospital of Martinique, Martinique
  • 7Independent researcher, Switzerland

Participating or winning a medal in major track and field (athletics) competitions is the goal of every athlete. However, health problems can impair sports performance and affect this dream. Therefore, we present 10 tips to help hurdle the challenges of illness/injury at major athletics championships: 1) Prepare for travel (medical checking, vaccine, time-zone, jet lag, culture, food habits…), 2) Respect athlete characteristics and discipline specificity (sex, endurance/explosive), 3) Educate athletes and their entourages regarding prevention, 4) Vigilance of painful symptoms and subclinical illness markers, 5) Avoid infection risk (washing hands, safe food and drink, avoid contact with sick people…), 6) Train appropriately and optimally (physical conditioning, technical training, load management, psychological preparation), 7) Health status (history of previous injuries, well-being in the month before championships), 8) Lifestyle (good sleep, regular hydration and nutrition with safe water/ food, regular fruits and vegetables, improve recovery strategies…), 9) Environmental considerations (heat, cold, air cleaning, changes or climatic conditions…), 10) Safety (equipment, rules, own-practice in athletics and extra-sport activities). These 10 tips “PREVATHLES” are based on our field experience in addition to existing epidemiological and experimental literature in athletics and other sports. Although there is currently no scientific evidence for their efficacy, sound judgement and logical practice provide a strong basis, and given the low risk of using them in the benefit/risk balance, we suggest athletes and those around them follow these 10 tips to limit the impact of injury/illness on championship performance.

Keywords: Health protection, Sports injury prevention, Track and Field, top-level athletes, injury risk, illness risk, Illness prevention

Received: 11 Jun 2019; Accepted: 31 Jul 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 EDOUARD, Richardson, Murray, Duncan, Glover, Kiss, Depiesse and Branco. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Pascal EDOUARD, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire (CHU) de Saint-Étienne, Saint-Etienne, France, pascal.edouard42@gmail.com