The epidemiology of injury and illness amongst athletes at the Indian Ocean Island Games, Mauritius 2019




Background: The Indian Ocean Island Games is a multi-sport event that occurs every four years and includes athletes from seven islands of the Indian Ocean.

Objective: This study aims to describe the injury and illness epidemiology of the athletes participating during the 2019 Indian Ocean Islands Games.

Material and Methods: This prospective cohort study recorded injury and illness cases from athletes who competed in these Games. All medical physicians received detailed instructions and training on data collection using an injury report form. All athletes (minor and adults) who provided consent, or consent given from the minors’ guardians, were included in this study. Athletes who did not provide consent for this study were excluded.

Results: 1 521 athletes (531 women and 990 men) reported 12 injuries per 100 athletes (n=160) and 6 illnesses per 100 athletes (n=85). The percentage of distribution of injuries were highest in football and basketball. Most injuries occurred during competition compared with training Joint sprains were the most common type of injury (28%), followed by muscle strains (19%). Men suffered the majority of injuries (79% vs. 21%). Similarly, men sustained more illness than women (57% vs. 43%). Most illnesses affected the respiratory system (67%), and infection was the most common cause of illness (84%) in participating athletes.

Discussion: These findings are similar to previous events in other parts of the world. However, unique ailments, not previously reported on, were discovered.

Conclusion: Epidemiological data from this study can be inferred to athletes who compete in similar multi-sport events and/or Olympic Games in the Indian Ocean region.


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Author Biographies

Benita Olivier, University of Witwatersrand

Benita Olivier (PhD) is a professor and researcher in the field of musculoskeletal physiotherapy in the Department of Physiotherapy at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa. She has been involved in many research projects which investigated the kinematics of, amongst others, the cricket fast bowling action. Parallel to these projects, she has established the Wits Physiotherapy Movement Analysis Laboratory. She is an avid researcher with a high level of research productivity. Benita is a National Research Foundation (NRF) rated researcher. Benita was a runner up in the Department of Science and Technology, Young Woman in Science Award in 2018. In 2017, she was selected as member of South African Young Academies of Science (SAYAS). She was a recipient of the Friedel Sellschop Award for exceptional young researchers in 2014, was identified by the Mail & Guardian as one of the top 200 most influential young South Africans and was a finalist in the 2014 Standard Bank Rising Stars Awards. Her academic vision includes development of evidence in the prevention of sports injury and musculoskeletal dysfunction, the optimisation of athletic performance and the analysis of movement.

Jon Patricios, University of Witwatersrand, Waterfall Sports Orthopaedic Surgery, Sports Concussion South Africa

Dr Patricios (MBBCh MMedSci FACSM FFSEM (UK) FFIMS) has been in sports medicine practice for over 20 years. He is currently Director of Waterfall Sports Orthopaedic Surgery in Johannesburg. He is a Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine, the Faculty of Sports & Exercise Medicine (UK) and the International Sports Medicine Federation. Jon serves on the Advisory Board of the University of Washington, Seattle Sports Health and Safety Institute. He is a senior associate editor of the British Journal of Sports Medicine and Current Sports Medicine Reports (USA) and served 2 terms as President of the South African Sports Medicine Association. Jon has been team physician to school, club, provincial and international sports teams in rugby, cricket, soccer, athletics and basketball, has been member of the Cricket South Africa and SA Rugby medical committees and the Discovery Rockies Comrades Marathon Panel of experts. He is founder and Director of Sports Concussion South Africa, sports concussion consultant to World Rugby, a board member of the international Concussion in Sports Group and has served on tribunals for the South African Institute for Drug Free Sport.



How to Cite

Garnett, D., Bhola, A., Olivier, B., Patricios, J., D’Hotman de Villiers, Y., Sunassee, K., & Cobbing, S. (2021). The epidemiology of injury and illness amongst athletes at the Indian Ocean Island Games, Mauritius 2019. South African Journal of Sports Medicine, 33(1).