The Open Sports Medicine Journal


ISSN: 1874-3870 ― Volume 9, 2015

The 2004 Paralympic Games: Physiotherapy Services in the Paralympic Village Polyclinic

The Open Sports Medicine Journal, 2009, 3: 1-8

Spyridon Athanasopoulos, Dimitris Mandalidis, Aikaterini Tsakoniti, Ioannis Athanasopoulos, Nikolaos Strimpakos, Emmanuel Papadopoulos, Demetrios G. Pyrros, Costas Parisis, Eleni Kapreli

Department of Physical Education and Sport Science, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens, Greece.

Electronic publication date /1/2009
[DOI: 10.2174/1874387000903010001]


The purpose of this study was to document the injuries sustained by athletes and non-athletes who were admitted to the physiotherapy department (PTD) of the Paralympic Village polyclinic (PVP) during the Athens 2004 Paralympic Games (PG) and to offer information about the provision of physiotherapy services which could be taken into account when planning similar athletic events. Documentation of injuries was based on the physiotherapy treatment reports of 131 athletes and 30 non-athletes (15–72 years of age), who were admitted to the PTD of the PVP during a 24-day operating period (6th and 30th of September 2004). Most injuries occurred to athletes who competed using mainly the upper extremity and body whether they made use of a wheelchair or not (n = 64, 48.9%), followed by the visually impaired (n = 34, 25.9%), the ambulant (n = 24, 18.3%) and the cerebral palsy athletes (n = 9, 6.9%). The majority of patients suffered acute (n = 84, 64.1%) and overuse injuries (n = 29, 22.1%) with the shoulder and spine to be the most prevalent sites of injury in both the athletic and the non-athletic population. More injured athletes were admitted to the PTD before the actual competition period (n = 69) compared to those admitted during the competition period (n = 62). However, the mean number of treatment sessions provided before the beginning and during the PG was 21.3 and 31.8, respectively. Ultrasound and massage were two of the modalities that were used more often for the treatment of sports injuries. Finally, recommendations are provided as to how a PTD of a PVP in future Paralympic Games or in similar major athletic events should be better organised in order to optimize physiotherapy services.

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