Objective: Firstly, to document the injuries sustained during the 2004 Olympic Games in a sample of patients visiting the Physiotherapy Department of the Olympic Village Polyclinic. Secondly to provide information and data about the physiotherapy services for planning future Olympics and other mass gatherings.
Design: Observational study.
Setting: Olympic Village Polyclinic.
Participants: 457 patients aged 15 to 72 years visited the Physiotherapy Department from July 30 through August 30.
Results: The department’s workload was at the peak during the last 15 days of the Olympic Games (Period B and C). The most prevailing injuries were the overuse injuries (42.7%). The most common pathology for physiotherapy attendance was myofascial pain/ muscle spasm (32.5%), followed by tendinopathy (19.2%) and ligament sprain (18.7%). The most prevalent site of injury was found to be the thigh (21%) and in sequence, the knee (14.1%) and the lumbar spine (13.5%). Most of the injuries had symptoms of less than 7 days duration. The geographical region with the largest proportions demand for physiotherapy services was Africa (40.6%). The majority of patients were athletes (72.5%), although team officials accounted for a considerable number (14%).
Conclusions: The smallest national teams - especially from developing countries – were apt to take advantage of services, probably because the larger teams were escorted by their own medical and physiotherapy staff. The characteristics of patients, their sustained injuries and the subsequent treatment, varied by their accreditation status. The Physiotherapy department’s workload was depended on the operation period that was in accordance with Olympic Games schedule.
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