Causes of dropouts in decathlon. A pilot study

Phys Ther Sport. 2010 Nov;11(4):133-5. doi: 10.1016/j.ptsp.2010.07.004. Epub 2010 Sep 17.


Background: Knowing the frequency and causes of dropouts in combined events seems relevant and helpful to develop strategies of injury prevention and to better define/understand the necessary qualities for decathletes.

Objective: To determine the causes of dropouts and the frequency of injury in decathlon.

Design: This pilot prospective study focused on 3 high-level decathlon competitions.

Main outcome measures: Data concerning athlete's participation (number of participating athletes listed on the start list, number of athletes in the final ranking), and the causes of dropouts were collected prospectively during the 3 high-level decathlon competitions.

Results: 38% of decathletes did not complete these competitions. The causes of dropout were: injury (36%), loss of motivation (36%), tiredness (9%), and indeterminate (18%). 50% of injuries were acute hamstring injuries during explosive events on the first day (100-m and long jump).

Conclusions: Musculoskeletal injury prevention and motivational aspects seem important to complete an entire decathlon and to aim at best performance. More detailed prospective studies are needed to determine the exact medical causes of dropouts in combined events.

MeSH terms

  • Athletic Injuries / epidemiology
  • Athletic Injuries / etiology
  • Athletic Injuries / prevention & control*
  • Competitive Behavior
  • France / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Motivation
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / epidemiology
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / etiology
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Track and Field / injuries*
  • Track and Field / psychology