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Sports Health. 2011 May;3(3):230-4.

Issues encountered by physicians during international travel with youth national soccer teams.

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Department of Family and Community Medicine, Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, Winston-Salem, North Carolina.



Little information is available to guide the selection, preparation, and support of a traveling team physician.


To determine the types of injuries and medical problems, as well as general team health and performance issues, encountered by physicians traveling internationally with youth national soccer teams.


Descriptive epidemiology.


Physicians assigned to travel abroad with the under-17 men's and women's US national soccer teams during a 2-year period documented all encounters with team and staff members. Physicians also documented consultations related to team health and performance issues.


The 108 cases (5.71 per 10 days) were evenly divided between injuries (n = 54) and noninjuries (n = 54). Players sought care at a higher rate than did staff (2.28 vs 1.09 per 100 person days). Mean severity for all player cases was 5.19 days missed (injuries, 10.48; noninjuries, 0.23). Nearly 69% of injuries involved the lower extremities: strains, sprains, and contusions accounted for 74.1% of injuries. Gastrointestinal, dermatologic, and otolaryngologic complaints accounted for 77.8% of noninjuries. Medications were administered in 71% of cases, with analgesics, cough and cold remedies, antibiotics, and gastrointestinal agents accounting for the majority. The leading team health and performance concerns were nutrition/hydration, conditioning, prevention, and doping control.


Physicians traveling internationally with youth soccer teams manage an equal proportion of musculoskeletal and medical problems using simple medications.


soccer; sports; travel

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