Epidemiological Aspects of Illness and Injury

  • Veronica VleckEmail author
  • David Hoeden


Advances in epidemiological research into maladaptation in triathletes have largely been hampered by inconsistent definitions of injury and illness between studies, poorly described sample populations, and small sample sizes. This chapter presents the results of five consecutive triathlon-specific studies, all of which used consistent data collection methods and definitions, with a total subject number of 2216. The ensuing data are easily divisible into gender-, athlete ability-level- and event distance specialization-specific subgroups. The results of these three retrospective surveys, one prospective medical tent-based observational study and one prospective longitudinal training diary-based survey, in conjunction with our 2014 review of the impact of triathlon training and racing on athletes’ general health, allow us to furnish the reader with an updated snapshot of current knowledge as regards the extent of, and potential risk factors for, triathlete injury and illness. Synergistic collaboration between all stakeholders is a prerequisite for further advancement towards the best applied model for reducing the risk of injury and illness in triathletes.


Retrospective Prospective Injury Illness Clinical Self-assessment Risk factors 



Vleck thanks the “Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia” (the Foundation for Science and Technology), Portugal (, for grant number SFRHBPD104394/2014. We are grateful to the athletes, coaches, doctors, technical officials, race directors, colleagues and friends—including Professor Sanjay Sharma, Mr. Robert Pűstow, Mrs. Jasmine Flatters M.B.E., Sylvia Titze Ph.D., David Bentley Ph.D., Mr. Michael Engelhardt and Dr. Thomas Fladischer—who have helped us with our research. We also acknowledge M. Walker’s assistance in collating some of the data from our 2013 medical tent-based study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CIPER, Faculdade de Motricidade HumanaUniversity of LisbonCruz Quebrada-DafundoPortugal
  2. 2.Institute of Sport ScienceKarl-Franzens UniversityGrazAustria

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