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Sleep, tiredness and sports injuries

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Summary of an article looking at sleep, tiredness, musculoskeletal complains and mental wellbeing in young athletes.


1266 boys and 1251 girls PIAMA birth cohort (1996-1997).


Two surveys at ages 11 and 14 years.

Outcome measures

  • musculoskeletal complains within last year
  • mental health status
  • being bullied
  • sleeping problems
  • daytime tiredness
  • hyperactivity
  • worrying
  • sports injuries (injuries “during sports activities or physical education”)

Main results

  • 15.8% of 11-year-olds and 24.4% 14-year-olds reported a musculoskeletal complaint within the last year.
  • Complains increased more in girls than boys, especially for back pain, from the age of 11 to the age of 14. 40% of those who reported a complaint at the age of 11 also reported musculoskeletal complaints at the age of 14.
  • Higher weight for age and smoking were associated with more back pain.
  • Being bullied was associated with back complaints.
  • Problems with sleeping were associated with back and lower limb complaints.
  • Poor mental status and hyperactivity were associated with upper limb complaints.
  • Daytime tiredness was associated with upper and lower limb complaints.
  • All complaints combined were associated with worrying, being bullied, sleeping problems and daytime tiredness.
  • Sports injuries were statistically associated with musculoskeletal complaints.

Take home message

For a clinician & coach
Musculoskeletal complaint at the age of 11 was strongly associated with a complaint at 14. Complaints increase from age 11 to age 14. Prevelence of complaints was higher in girls, those with sleeping problems, daytime tiredness and sports injuries.
For a parent
From ages 11 to 14 musculoskeletal complaints increased. Girls, those with sleeping problems, daytime tiredness, and sports injuries have more musculoskeletal complaints.
For an athlete
If you are a girl, have sleeping problems or daytime tiredness, you are at a higher risk of musculoskeletal complaints.

Original article

Picavet HS, Berentzen N, Scheuer N, Ostelo RW, Brunekreef B, Smit HA, Wijga A. Musculoskeletal complaints while growing up from age 11 to age 14: the PIAMA birth cohort study. Pain. 2016 Dec 1;157(12):2826-33.

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