Sports career-related musculoskeletal injuries: long-term health effects on former athletes

Sports Med. 2003;33(12):869-75. doi: 10.2165/00007256-200333120-00001.


Despite the high absolute number of sports injuries, most are not usually severe and consequent permanent disabilities are uncommon. Based on epidemiological data, former athletes have more degenerative changes in their joints and spine compared with control populations; however, at old age, their good muscle function related to high physical activity level seems to compensate for the effects of degenerative changes on function. There are former athletes who report disabilities due to different types of musculoskeletal injuries from sports careers. This article attempts to characterise this problem; however, more detailed studies are needed, particularly because the training regimens of the athletes seem to be increasingly demanding.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Athletic Injuries / complications*
  • Disabled Persons / statistics & numerical data
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / etiology*
  • Quality of Life
  • Risk Factors