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Vancouver 2010: putting science into practice

22nd December 2009

With less than 60 days to go until the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, many eyes are turned to Vancouver, including those of the medical community. The athletes are at the centre of the Games, and the athletes’ health is a number-one priority for the sports and medical worlds alike. A great deal of research has been done recently to improve injury prevention, driven by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) with the participation of the International Federations concerned.

The December issue of the well-known British Journal of Sports Medicine takes a special look at medical topics surrounding the Vancouver Games: incidences of injury among Alpine skiers; rule changes in ski jumping to prevent the thinnest competitors winning because of their light weight; and challenges in the classification of athletes with a disability for the Paralympic Winter Games are just some of the hot topics discussed in this special edition, which was coordinated by the IOC Medical Commission. In summary: only thorough research makes it possible to implement effective injury prevention work on the ground.

On site in Vancouver, the IOC will implement an extensive study, which will collect important information about newly acquired injuries and illnesses of athletes at Games time.  All National Olympic Committee (NOC) head physicians will be asked to report on a daily basis.  At the Games of the XXIX Olympiad in 2008 in Beijing, there were 1,055 injuries reported, with a total number of more than 10,000 athletes.

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