So I signed up to be a volunteer at the Commonwealth Games. I had been at the Sydney 2000 Olympics and so thought I might be good at directing traffic or driving officials around. As it turns out they needed medical volunteers for 1500 positions across 50 medical facilities in the State. Currently I am doing shifts at the Polyclinic in the Athletes Village and at Oxenford Studios covering Boxing, Squash and Table Tennis.
Volunteers had a sneak preview of the venue last Wednesday night. It’s pretty epic the main studio -Studio 9- housing the main glass squash court and then six more squash courts. Funny to think they were filming Aquaman in this place couple of months ago. Apart from that the table tennis was up and running and boxing too was almost ready. Only a few more days until kick off.
Thought I might look into what I might be up against as doctor at a Commonwealth Games. The closest I came to was a paper published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine discussing injury and illness at the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic Games. Looking at injury, over the sporting competition 9.8 injuries occurred for every 100 athletes. We might stick to sports at the Commonwealth Games represented in Rio. The highest injury rates were seen in boxing, (beaten only by BMX cycling) mountain bike cycling, and rugby. Lowest rates were seen in swimming and table tennis. Woman and men both had similar rates of injury and 40% of injuries were bad enough to mean that an athlete would miss a short period of training or competition. 20% were serious enough to require withdrawal from competition for longer than 1 week. Knees were the most commonly injured body part followed by thigh and ankle. For such a simple joint, knees cause so much trouble which will discuss shortly. Sprains were the most common injury then bruising followed by muscle rupture/tear- I wonder if this covers the marks left by cupping processes! Mostly injuries were caused mainly by collision with another athlete or non contact trauma. Injury incidence was higher in competition than training for boxing and rugby. This follows on from my own experience seeing footy players mainly from weekend games rather than training. Only swimming had an incidence of injury higher in training than competition.
In diagnosing illnesses in athletes, 613 patients were affected making the rate 5 athletes per 100. I seem to remember numerous newspaper stories prior to the games about the quality of the water at the games indicating gastrointestinal disease may have been more prominent in Rio, however this was not seen and the overall proportion of athletes with illness was lower than London four years earlier. The main culprit for illness affected the respiratory system followed by gastrointestinal. Female athletes were at a significantly higher risk from illness than men. Only two illnesses were thought to have put a player out of action for longer than 7 days – a case of chickenpox and of conjunctivitis. Highest incidences of illness were seen in diving and swimming.
Looks like I will have to look out for boxing athletes with the flu and a knee injury.
The full paper can be seen here.