OBJECTIVE To describe the epidemiology of illness at
the Sochi 2014 Winter Paralympic Games.
METHODS A total of 547 athletes from 45 countries
were monitored daily for 12 days over the Sochi 2014
Winter Paralympic Games (6564 athlete days). Illness
data were obtained daily from teams without their own
medical support (13 teams, 37 athletes) and teams with
their own medical support (32 teams, 510 athletes)
through electronic data capturing systems.
RESULTS The total number of illnesses reported was
123, with an illness incidence rate (IR) of 18.7 per 1000
athlete days (95% CI 15.1% to 23.2%). The highest IR
was reported for wheelchair curling (IR of 20.0 (95% CI
10.1% to 39.6%)). Illnesses in the respiratory system (IR
of 5.6 (95% CI 3.8% to 8.0%)), eye and adnexa (IR of
2.7 (95% CI 1.7% to 4.4%)) and digestive system (IR of
2.4 (95% CI 1.4% to 4.2%)) were the most common.
Older athletes (35–63 years) had a significantly higher IR
than younger athletes (14–25 years, p=0.049).
CONCLUSIONS The results of this study indicate that
Paralympic athletes report higher illness incidence rates
compared to Olympic athletes at similar competitions.
The highest rates of illness were reported for the
respiratory and digestive systems, eye and adnexa,
respectively. Thus, the results of this study form a basis
for the identification of physiological systems at higher
risk of illness, which can in turn inform illness prevention and management programmes with eventual policy
change to promote athlete safety in future editions of
the Winter Paralympic Games.