Managing collapsed or seriously ill participants of ultra-endurance events in remote environments

Sports Med. 2015 Feb;45(2):201-12. doi: 10.1007/s40279-014-0270-y.


Increasing participation in ultramarathons and other ultra-endurance events amplifies the potential for serious medical issues during and immediately following these competitions. Since these events are often located in remote settings where access may be extremely limited; the diagnostic capabilities, treatment options, and expectations of medical care may differ from those of urban events. This work outlines a process for assessment and treatment of athletes presenting for medical attention in remote environments, with a focus on potentially serious conditions such as major trauma, acute coronary syndrome, exertional heat stroke, hypothermia, hypoglycemia, exercise-associated hyponatremic encephalopathy, severe dehydration, altitude illness, envenomation, anaphylaxis, and bronchospasm. A list of suggested medical supplies is provided and discussed. But, given that diagnostic and treatment options may be extremely limited in remote settings, it is important for medical providers to understand how to assess and manage the most common serious medical issues with limited resources, and to be prepared to make presumptive diagnoses when necessary.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Athletic Injuries / diagnosis*
  • Athletic Injuries / therapy*
  • Competitive Behavior / physiology
  • Emergency Treatment*
  • Environment*
  • Humans
  • Physical Endurance / physiology*
  • Running / physiology*
  • Triage