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Medicina dello Sport 2009 December;62(4):467-80


language: English, Italian

Descriptive analysis of unfitness for competitive sport in Piedmont: 10 years of certification

Gottin M., Ganzit G. P., Ottino M.

1 Sports Medicine Unit, Local Health Unit TO4, Chivasso, Turin, Italy 2 Sports Medicine Institute, Turin, Italy 3 Department of Epidemiology, Local Health Unit TO4, Chivasso, Turin, Italy


Aim. Italy has an information system for monitoring athletes’ health, based on the medical certification for practicing sports. Sports medicine physicians send copies to the regional competent office (here Piedmont) that codes and records all certificates in a central database. We analysed these data for describing the epidemiological characteristics of this population of athletes and the efficiency of the information system.
Methods. We analyzed the certificates completed from 1997 to 2006, grouping by certification centre, sex, age, type of sport and prevalent disease. Since 2007, all visits have been recorded and it was thus possible to estimate denominators, otherwise not present before. Similarly, we also used data from the Sports Medicine Institute of Turin, despite the limitations arising from the different populations of athletes that usually go to this centre. Time trends were assessed with ¯2 test, and with the joinpoint regression method for identifying time period, direction and significance of trend changes, when present.
Results. We found 2 422 subjects with a reported pathology that limited sport practice, out of more than 50 sports. The prevalence was 1.86 for 1000 visits, with 83% men, and higher prevalence among 11 to 15 years old. The sport with the highest number of unfits was soccer, followed by cycling and gymnastics. Cardiovascular diseases were the most frequent reported disease.
Conclusion. The wealth of information gathered from this information system can offer interesting patterns for epidemiological monitoring. For this reason it is essential also to improve the quality of data, and standardizing the diagnostic procedures. The prevalence of cardiovascular diseases suggests the possibility of introducing mandatory ECG monitoring.

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