Medical Encounters at Kona

This outlines the presentations to the medical tent at Kona from 1989 to 2019. Summary for those who can’t access:

10,533 athletes out of 47,462 participants attended medical tent = 22%

Downtrending over the years - initially 350/1000 in 1990s
Females more likely (proportional) than males: Females 243/1000, compared to males 198/1000
18-34 year olds most likely to attend (259/1000), followed by those 70+ (254/1000) with middle age 35-69 (180/1000)
Professionals from 2004: female 231/1000, male 192/1000 = same incidence as Age Groupers

Median duration 49 minutes, with 71% discharged within 1 hour
2% of athletes transferred to hospital
Presentations gradually increase throughout the race, with the vast majority present between 9-14 hours in the race

Most common presentations:
Dematological: blisters, abrasions, sunburn
Muscle Cramps/strains
GI Distress: nausea, vomit, abdominal pain, diarrhoea


IV fluids by far the biggest treatment given (48% of patients)
Anti-emetics 5%
Magnesium sulfate to 1.5%
Inhalers 0.6%
Benzodazepines 0.5%

My guess from the data is that hyponatremia had the highest absolute rate for hospital transfer, accounting for 48 of the 180 patients hospitalised.
Not talked about, but wonder if that relates to slower finishers over-drinking water aka waterlogged (as much as I’ve lost respect for Noakes)


Are we sure it’s not downtrending, 'cos they stopped giving IV fluids to anyone who turned up at the tent and “asked” for them, as was encouraged by so many “coaches” 15-20 years ago.


Sports nutrition and awareness has moved on a lot since the 90’s though?

Remember a big medical tent at Roth with a lot of people on drips, whereas I’ve hardly seen anything in Uk races unless you’re in a very bad state and probably get carted off to hospital.

Hyponatremia is worse than dehydration isn’t it? Sure I read about a few dying of it at London over the years?

Edit: dare say the people at Kona are also a bit more driven and will push themselves more with it being the WC.


Weren’t athletes at US races being billed $1k for an IV years ago?

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On the health plan, I guess…

along with the other ‘extras’…

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People die from the former, I’m not sure people die from the latter in < 17hrs

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