To describe injuries and illnesses across traditional and new sports among the participating athletes of the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Summer Games (BA YOG) (6–18 October 2018).
We recorded the daily number 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 manned by the BA YOG 2018 medical staff.
In total, 3.984 athletes from 206 NOCs were observed. NOCs and BA YOG 2018 medical staff reported 619 injuries and 334 illnesses, equalling 15.5 injuries and 8.4 illnesses per 100 athletes over the 13-day period. The eight new sports on the Youth Olympic programme (futsal, beach handball, karate, roller speed skating, kitesurfing, BMX freestyle, climbing and break dancing) fell in between the other sports with respect to injury and illness risk. Injury incidence was highest in rugby (43% of all rugby players), followed by boxing (33%) and badminton (24%), and lowest in swimming, archery, roller speed skating, equestrian, climbing and rowing (<5%). The highest incidences of illness were recorded in golf (20%), followed by triathlon (16%), beach volleyball and diving (both 14%). Of the illnesses, 50% affected the respiratory system and 15% the gastrointestinal system. Injury and illness incidences varied between continents with athletes representing Europe having significantly fewer injuries and illnesses compared with other continents, apart from a similar illness incidence to Asian athletes.
The overall injury incidence of 15.5 injuries per 100 athletes was higher, while the overall illness incidence of 8.4 illnesses per 100 athletes was similar to previous youth and Olympic Games. The new sports did not differ significantly compared with the other sports with respect to injury and illness risk.