The London Olympics stood up to the world’s expectations and delivered some truly memorable sporting moments. Who will forget the achievements of USA swimmer Michael Phelps or Jamaica’s track star Usain Bolt? Only with sacrifice and commitment will an athlete be given the opportunity to represent their country at an Olympic Games. Along with natural talent, it takes countless hours of training over a long period of time to train and prepare for the Olympics. Coaching staff and sporting facilities play an important role, with government bodies often contributing funding to the development of world champions.
The sports medicine team also plays an important part in the development of a champion athlete. The ability of the sports medicine team to assess and manage medical issues, acute or chronic injuries and implement injury prevention strategies can have an enormous influence on an athlete’s performance. As the athletes now make their way home from London, a big emphasis will be placed on recovery and injury rehabilitation, even if an athlete has recently retired. So let us review some of the injuries that made headlines at the London Olympics:
· China’s gold medal favourite 110 meter hurdler, Liu Xiang, ruptured his Achilles tendon during one of the preliminary heats (see previous blog for his story)
· American 400 meter relay runner, Manteo Mitchell , felt and heard a break in his leg at the 200 meter mark and continued running to help his team qualify for the relay final. Later it was confirmed that he had suffered a simple complete break of his left fibula.
· Jamaica’s former 100 meter world recorder holder, Asafa Powell, suffered what appeared to be a thigh strain to commentators during the 100 meter men’s final. Powell finished last behind fellow countrymen Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake who came away with the gold and silver. Now confirmed as a left adductor strain, the injury has ended Powell’s racing season. Unfortunately the injury stopped this race from creating history as the first in which every runner finished under 10 seconds.
One of the principle authors of the Clinical Sports medicine textbook, Professor Peter Brukner has summarized his London Olympic experiences online at http://www.peterbrukner.com/london-2012/. Read about his thoughts as we eagerly wait for part two