Health advice is important when a traveller is going abroad and will or could be involved in sporting activities. An obvious health risk is the possibility of accidents specific to the sport involved.
Many travellers attending surgeries or travel clinics are likely to be going abroad to be involved in activities such as skiing, swimming, sailing, cycling, football, rugby, golf, cricket, marathons or horse riding.
An additional hazard is musculoskeletal injuries not so much from an accident but related to the sport due to muscle fatigue, sprains, sometimes fractures, dehydration or exhaustion.
Sport at a professional level
At a professional level, sporting organisations usually have very well organised health and sports medicine departments since fitness for competitive sporting activities is an essential and often very costly requirement.
Physical fitness appropriate for the activities to be undertaken can easily be underestimated, especially in unfamiliar surroundings.
Further advice may be necessary when sporting activities involve going for short periods for competitions to countries where the climate is very different. Also, athletes sometimes train at high altitude to raise their haemoglobin level and increase their ability to carry oxygen which may improve their performance at lower levels (see course 3)
Personal attention to lifestyle and behaviour to prevent infections is essential and most vaccinations and precautions against malaria will be the same as for other travellers. If bleeding injuries are more likely, e.g. rugby football, hepatitis B vaccination should be considered.
This is more so in countries with poor medical facilities and where there is a possibility of needing emergency surgery, intravenous infusions or blood transfusions.
Other health risks are the same as for other travellers (see in particular courses 4-6)
However, since injuries may be more likely, insurance to cover the specific sporting activities involved is important. Insurance companies often specify which sporting activities must be declared.