Objective: The aim of this study was to analyze all sports injuries incurred in competitions and/or training during the 2007 World Athletics Championships and to prove the feasibility of the injury surveillance system developed for the 2008 Olympic Games for individual sports.
Design: Prospective recording of injuries.
Setting: 11 IAAF World Championships in Athletics 2007 in Osaka, Japan.
Participants: All national team physicians and physiotherapists; Local Organising Committee (LOC) physicians working in the Medical Centres at the stadium and warm-up area.
Main outcome measures: Frequency, characteristics, and incidence of injuries.
Results: 192 injuries were reported, resulting in an incidence of 97 injuries per 1000 registered athletes. More than half of the injuries (56%) were expected to prevent the athlete from participating in competition or training. Eighty percent affected the lower extremity; the most common diagnosis was thigh strain (16%). In most cases, the injury was caused by overuse (44%). A quarter of the injuries were incurred during training and 137 (71%) in competition. On average, 72.4 injuries per 1000 competing athletes were incurred in competitions. The incidence of injury varied substantially among the disciplines. The risk of a time-loss injury was highest in heptathlon, women's 10,000 m, women's 3000 m steeplechase, decathlon, and men's marathon.
Conclusion: The injury surveillance system proved feasible for individual sports. Risk of injury varied among the disciplines, with highest risk in combined disciplines, steeplechase, and long-distance runs. Preventive interventions should mainly focus on overuse injuries and adequate rehabilitation of previous injuries.