Wilderness Medicine: Strategies for Provision of Medical Support for Adventure Racing
Author: Townes, David A.
Source: Sports Medicine, Volume 35, Number 7, 2005 , pp. 557-564(8)
Publisher: Adis International
Abstract:In adventure racing, or multisporting, athletes perform multiple disciplines over a course in rugged, often remote, wilderness terrain. Disciplines may include, but are not limited to, hiking, trail running, mountain biking, caving, technical climbing, fixed-line mountaineering, flat- and white-water boating, and orienteering. While sprint races may be as short as 6 hours, expedition-length adventure races last a minimum of 36 hours up to 10 days or more and may cover hundreds of kilometres.Over the past decade, adventure racing has grown in popularity throughout the world with increasing numbers of events and participants each year. The provision of on-site medical care during these events is essential to ensure the health and safety of the athletes and thus the success of the sport.At present, there are no formal guidelines and a relatively small amount of literature to assist in the development of medical support plans for these events. This article provides an introduction to the provision of medical support for adventure races. Since a wide variety of illness and injury occur during these events, the medical support plan should provide for proper personnel, equipment and supplies to provide care for a wide range of illness and injury. Foot-related problems are the most common reasons for athletes to require medical attention during these events.This article also highlights some of the controversies involved in the provision of medical support for these events. Suggsted penalties for acceptance of medical care during the event and strategies for removal of an athlete from the event for medical reasons are offered. In addition, some of the challenges involved in the provision of medical support, including communication, logistics and liability are discussed.This information should prove useful for medical directors of future, similar events. Because of their extreme nature, expedition-length adventure races represent a new and unique area of wilderness and event medicine.
Document Type: Research article
Publication date: 2005-01-01