Triathlon Race Day Medical Care

  • W. D. B. Hiller


Triathlon is a sequential swim/bike/run race. As such, the sport poses unique challenges for the medical care of the athletes.

Planning for and treating the potential medical problems encountered in an open water swim, bicycle race, and distance run require a detailed knowledge and attention to each part of the race.

Pre-race organization is the foundation for success. The physician in charge of directing medical care must be an integral part of the Race Committee and race planning procedure. This should include involvement in the race course design.

Ambulance access to the course, water quality, water and air temperature monitoring, as well as safety issues for each leg of the course requires attention. Explicit planning for mass casualties in the event of natural disaster or attack should be detailed. Cooperating hospitals and ambulance services must be identified early on.

Medical staffing, logistics, and medical supplies are a sine qua non for success on race day.

Medical access to the race course must be safe without interfering with the race. Medical assessment and care at the finish line requires careful coordination, and education for the medical and finish line personnel.

There must be clear and unobstructed access to the medical tent from the finish line, and for ambulances from the street.

Communication among medical personnel at the main medical tent and in hospitals is essential. There should be a plan to communicate with families or friends of injured athletes.

Successfully planning and executing the medical coverage for hundreds or thousands of athletes can be a daunting challenge. The recipe for success is polite, relentless pursuit of the best care for our athletes.


Triathlon Race Medical care Medical director Race director Injury Swim Bike Run 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. D. B. Hiller
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Elson S. Floyd College of MedicineWashington State UniversityPullmanUSA
  2. 2.John A. Burns School of MedicineUniversity of HawaiiHonoluluUSA
  3. 3.Whitman Hospital and Medical CenterColfaxUSA

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