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Neuroscience For Kids

Winter Olympics: Dangerous Games
September 8, 2010

The numbers of injuries from the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics have been analyzed and they are not good. At least 11% of the athletes who participated at the 2010 winter games suffered an injury!

Researchers reported their findings about injuries that occurred during the 2010 Winter Olympics in a recent paper published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. A total of 287 injuries were reported for the 2,567 athletes who participated in the study. This is equal to 111.8 injuries for 1,000 athletes and approximately 11% of all athletes had at least one injury. Female athletes had a slightly higher rate of injury (13.1%) than male athletes (9.3%).

The sports with the highest risk of injury were bobsled, ice hockey, short track skating, alpine skiing, freestyle skiing and snowboard cross. The face, head and upper spine were the body areas most frequently injured by both male and female athletes. A total of 20 concussions (7% of the total number of injuries) were reported; these brain injuries were suffered by athletes who competed in snowboard/ski cross/aerials (11 concussions), bobsled/luge/skeleton (9 concussions), short track (1 concussion), alpine skiing and ice hockey (3 concussions).

It is possible that some injuries went unreported so the actual injury rate might be higher. Even the reported injury rate of 11% is significant and steps to create safer winter sports should be taken.

Did you know? One athlete, Nodar Kumaritashvili from the Republic of Georgia, was killed during a training run at the 2010 Winter Olympics when he lost control of his luge and crashed into a support column.

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