Beware the bobsled

The 2010 Winter Olympics may have ended months ago, but a new study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine is only now counting up the cost: one in 10 Olympians experienced an injury and one in 14 suffered an illness.

The researchers analyzed information from the 82 national team doctors, which included reports of 287 injuries and 185 illnesses. Meaning out of the 2,567 Olympians, 11.2 percent experienced at least one injury, notes the LA Times.  About 22 percent of those injuries resulted in athletes being unable to compete in their sport.

According to HealthDay, female athletes experienced a higher injury rate than men – 131.1 per 1,000 compared to 93.3 per 1,000.

What were the most dangerous winter sports? Bobsledding, ice hockey, short-track skating, alpine freestyle skiing, snowboard halfpipe and snowboard cross were associated with the most injuries. Olympians competing in Nordic skiing events, as well as luge, curling, speed skating, and freestyle moguls had the lowest risk of injury.

The head, spine, and knees were the most common injured areas of the body, and the most common types of injuries were bruising, ligament and muscular sprains.

HealthDay reports these additional findings:

  • There was one death — an athlete who died while training for luge.
  • About 20 percent of female athletes in bobsled, ice hockey, snowboard cross and in freestyle cross and aerials suffered an injury. Just under 28 percent of male athletes were injured in short track, 17 percent in bobsled, and just under 16 percent in hockey.
  • About 10 percent of athletes in skeleton, figure and speed skating, curling, snowboard cross and biathlon had at least one illness, 62 percent of which were respiratory infections.
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