Guest Post by:
The 2016 Summer Olympic Games concluded its two-week run in Rio de Janeiro Sunday night and now it is time to reflect on the games and amazing athletes we have grown to admire and support over that time. Despite controversies that started and ended these games – from the political and financial instability of Brazil, concerns over the Zika virus, to the Russian doping scandal and ending with Ryan Lochte – we still enjoyed amazing feats of athleticism and achievements from the likes of Michael Phelps, Simone Biles, Usain Bolt, and many others that will go down in history. Unfortunately, there are not just the highs with athletic events, but also lows, especially when serious injuries occur. One such injury at this year’s games brings us to one of the greatest moments of Olympic sportsmanship on record, truly reflecting the Olympic values of “excellence, friendship and respect.”
With approximately 2,000 meters left in the women’s 5,000 meter race, New Zealand runner Nikki Hamblin tripped and – at the same time – pulled down Abbey D’Agostino of the United States. D’Agostino quickly got back to her feet, but instead of continuing on with the race, she stopped and helped Hamblin back up to her feet. Both athletes helped and encouraged each other and were able to finish the race together. They were both granted spots in the finals, but D’Agonstino was injured in the fall. She had suffered the “unhappy triad,” tearing her ACL, MCL and medial meniscus. D’Agostino was not able to continue and compete in the finals.
There were over 11,500 athletes competing in 306 events in 28 different sports; with this extreme number of athletes, competing at such a high level of intensity, injuries are inevitable. Here are just a few of the more serious ones to highlight:
- French gymnast, Samir Ait Said suffered what looked to be a compound tibia/fibula fracture during a pommel horse landing
- Australian wrestler, Talgat Llyaso suffered an elbow dislocation during a match
- Australian javelin thrower, Kim Mickle dislocated her right shoulder during a qualifying throw
- Armenian weightlifter, Andranik Karapetyan dislocated his elbow when attempting a clean and jerk lift with 429 lbs
As these athletes all have a LONG road to recovery, I am sure their dedication to training and competition will carry them through their rehabilitation. The above injuries were traumatic, but even the day to day strains, sprains and soreness can limit one’s ability to compete. You constantly hear athletes talking about 5 staples to their day to day recovery/regeneration: rest, hydration, nutrition, cryotherapy (ice and heat) and muscle management/stretching. Taking care of their bodies every day is the only way to compete at this level. We all hear about the “fad treatments”: cupping, kinesio tape, dry needling, hot stones, and many others. There is a time and place for all types of treatments, but do these simply to achieve a placebo effect or are they truly rooted in evidenced based practice? That is definitely a question for another article, but no matter what other treatments they are receiving, these athletes and all athletes no matter their age or competitive level, need to focus on the 5 staples for recovery: Rest, Hydration, Nutrition, Cryotherapy, and Muscle Management/Stretching.