Injury surveillance on young elite athletes participating in the 1st Winter Youth Olympic Games in Innsbruck/Austria

BJSM e-letter by:

Gerhard Ruedl and Wolfgang Schobersberger

E-letter for: Kathrin Steffen, Lars Engebretsen. The Youth Olympic Games and a new awakening for sports and exercise medicine. BJSM. 2011; 45: 1251-1252 (Warm up)

Photo courtesy of IYOGOC

Do we really want to see our young promising talents go through a major injury at one stage into their career?

Definitely no!

However, in competitive alpine skiing, snowboarding and freestyle, the risk to get major head and anterior cruciate ligament injuries is indeed high [1-4]. Therefore, training focussing on injury prevention should start at an early age and should go along with the athletes’ career. To implement evidence based preventive measures, however, it is of utmost importance to investigate first of all data on occurrence and severity of injuries according to the 4-step model of injury prevention research [5].

At this point of time, there is little data available concerning the injury risk of youth elite athletes competing in winter sports [6, 7]. Therefore, we will conduct a systematic injury and illness surveillance on young elite athletes participating in the 1st Winter Youth Olympic Games in Innsbruck/Austria in January 2012.  Let us work together to get meaningful data as a basis for further research on injury risk factors and injury mechanisms and finally on injury prevention strategies among young elite winter sport athletes.

We are glad to welcome you in Innsbruck!

References
(1) Pujol N, Blanchi MP, Chambat P. The incidence of anterior cruciate ligament injuries among competitive alpine skiers.  Am J Sports Med 2007; 35: 1070-4.
(2) Florenes TW, Bere T, Nordsletten L et al. Injuries among male and female World Cup alpine skiers. Br J Sports Med 2009; 43: 973-8.
(3) Florenes TW, Nordsletten L, Heir S et al. Injuries among World Cup freestyle skiers. Br J Sports Med 2010; 44: 803-8.
(4) Florenes TW, Nordsletten L, Heir S et al. Injuries among World Cup ski and snowboard atlethes. Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2010 Jun 18 [Epub ahead of print].
(5) Bahr R, Krosshaug T. Understanding injury mechanisms: a key component of preventing injuries in sport. Br J Sports Med 2005; 39: 324-9.
(6) Steffen K, Engebretsen L. The Youth Olympic Games and a new awakening for sports and exercise medicine. Br J Sports Med 2011; 45: 1251-52.
(7) Steffen K, Engebretsen L. More data needed on injury risk among young elite athletes. Br J Sports Med 2010; 44: 485-9.

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Gerhard Ruedl is a Senior Researcher at the Department of Sport Science, University of Innsbruck, Austria

Wolfgang Schobersberger is the Chief Medical Officer of Winter Youth Olympic Games in Innsbruck; Institute for Sports Medicine, Alpine Medicine & Health Tourism Innsbruck/Austria

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