Objective To analyse injuries and illnesses during the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Summer Games.
Methods This retrospective descriptive study included 11 420 athletes from 206 National Olympic Committees and 312 883 non-athletes. Incidences of injuries and illnesses during the competition period from 21 July to 8 August 2021 were analysed.
Results A total of 567 athletes (416 injuries, 51 non-heat-related illnesses and 100 heat-related illnesses) and 541 non-athletes (255 injuries, 161 non-heat-related illnesses and 125 heat-related illnesses) were treated at the competition venue clinic. Patient presentation and hospital transportation rates per 1000 athletes were 50 and 5.8, respectively. Marathons and race walking had the highest incidence of injury and illness overall (17.9%; n=66). The highest incidence of injury (per participant) was noted in boxing (13.8%; n=40), sport climbing (12.5%; n=5) and skateboarding (11.3%; n=9), excluding golf, with the highest incidence of minor injuries. Fewer infectious illnesses than previous Summer Olympics were reported among the participants. Of the 100 heat-related illnesses in athletes, 50 occurred in the marathon and race walking events. Only six individuals were transported to a hospital due to heat-related illness, and none required hospital admission.
Conclusion Injuries and heat-related illnesses were lower than expected at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Summer Games. No catastrophic events occurred. Appropriate preparation including illness prevention protocols, and treatment and transport decisions at each venue by participating medical personnel may have contributed to these positive results.
- Sports medicine
Data availability statement
No data are available.
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HT and ST contributed equally.
Contributors Conceptualisation—HT and ST. Formal analysis—KNakagawa. Clinical Investigation—HY, HT, YO, TM, KNakano, MS, TT, KS, JI, SS, HI, HN, TK and NK. Methodology—HT and HY. Project administration—HT. Supervision—TM and TA. Visualisation—HT and ST. Writing (original draft)—HT and ST. Writing (review and editing)—HT and ST. Guarantor—HT. HT and ST equally contributed.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
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Competing interests None declared.
Patient and public involvement Patients and/or the public were not involved in the design, or conduct, or reporting, or dissemination plans of this research.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
Author note In this paper, we focus on the injuries, non-heat-related illnesses and heat-related illnesses that occurred not only among athletes but also among staff, officials and venue personnel involved in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, and extract data from medical records from the perspective of emergency medicine. The purpose of this report is to share as much accurate information as possible from the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games regarding the impact of the international mass-gathering event on the emergency medical care system operating within possible future infection outbreaks. This report is based on information compiled by the Medical Services Department of the Tokyo Organizing Committee for the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, and is therefore subject to change. Note that there may be differences in the reports from each venue.
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