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Br J Sports Med. 2017 Sep;51(17):1265-1271. doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2017-097956. Epub 2017 Jul 29.

Sports injury and illness incidence in the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic Summer Games: A prospective study of 11274 athletes from 207 countries.

Author information

Medical and Scientific Department, International Olympic Committee, Lausanne, Switzerland.
Sport Injury Prevention Research Centre, Faculty of Kinesiology, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
Oslo Sports Trauma Research Center, Department of Sports Medicine, Norwegian School of Sport Sciences, Oslo, Norway.
School of Applied Sciences, Edinburgh Napier University, Edinburgh, UK.
Division of Rheumatology, Orthopaedics and Dermatology, School of Medicine, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK.
Department of Sports Medicine, Aspetar Qatar Orthopedics and Sports Medicine Hospital, Doha, Qatar.
Department of Physical Therapy, University of Massachusetts Lowell, Lowell, Massachusetts, USA.
Department of Neurology, Spine Unit, Schulthess Clinic, Zurich, Switzerland.
Institute of Sport and Health, University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland.
Fédération International de Natation (FINA), Lausanne, Switzerland.
Masters and Doctoral Programs in Physical Therapy, Universidade Cidade de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil.
GE Healthcare, Moscow, Russia.
Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway.



To describe the pattern of injuries and illnesses sustained during the Games of the XXXI Olympiad, hosted by Rio de Janeiro from 5 to 21 August 2016.


We recorded the daily incidence of athlete injuries and illnesses (1) through the reporting of all National Olympic Committee (NOC) medical teams and (2) in the polyclinic and medical venues by the Rio 2016 medical staff.


In total, 11 274 athletes (5089 women, 45%; 6185 men, 55%) from 207 NOCs participated in the study. NOC and Rio 2016 medical staff reported 1101 injuries and 651 illnesses, equalling 9.8 injuries and 5.4 illnesses per 100 athletes over the 17-day period. Altogether, 8% of the athletes incurred at least one injury and 5% at least one illness. The injury incidence was highest in BMX cycling (38% of the athletes injured), boxing (30%), mountain bike cycling (24%), taekwondo (24%), water polo (19%) and rugby (19%), and lowest in canoe slalom, rowing, shooting, archery, swimming, golf and table tennis (0%-3%). Of the 1101 injuries recorded, 40% and 20% were estimated to lead to ≥1 and >7 days of absence from sport, respectively. Women suffered 40% more illnesses than men. Illness was generally less common than injury, with the highest incidence recorded in diving (12%), open-water marathon (12%), sailing (12%), canoe slalom (11%), equestrian (11%) and synchronised swimming (10%). Illnesses were also less severe; 18% were expected to result in time loss. Of the illnesses, 47% affected the respiratory system and 21% the gastrointestinal system. The anticipated problem of infections in the Rio Olympic Games did not materialise, as the proportion of athletes with infectious diseases mirrored that of recent Olympic Games (3%).


Overall, 8% of the athletes incurred at least one injury during the Olympic Games, and 5% an illness, which is slightly lower than in the Olympic Summer Games of 2008 and 2012.


elite athletes; illness; injury; prevention; summer sports; surveillance

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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