Study: Olympic Curlers More Likely Than Luge Racers to Be Hurt

The following is an excerpt from an article posted at

You could probably expect that when the world’s best bobsledders, skiers, figure skaters and other winter Olympic athletes gather to compete, some end up getting hurt. Exactly how often that happens, however, hasn’t been well studied.

A research project undertaken at the Vancouver Games surveyed National Olympic Committee head doctors to come up with some stats, finding that at least 11% of athletes were injured and 7% fell ill during the Olympics. The collected data cover 2,567 athletes from the 82 participating committees and are published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

The authors say a 10% injury rate was seen at the 2008 Beijing Games, but that there is much less information available on injury risk for Olympic winter sports. (So we don’t know whether these rates are higher or lower than at previous Winter Games.)

As you could probably tell from the on-camera mishap rate during the Games, bobsled, ice hockey, short-track speed skating, freestyle skiing and snowboard cross had the highest rates of injury — as high as 35% for snowboard cross.

And would you believe a larger proportion of curling competitors (4%) than luge racers (2%) were injured? (That stat, of course, belies the fact that a luge competitor from Georgia died during a training run and may underestimate actual risk, the authors say.) Among the curlers, injuries were to the lower back, wrist, finger and thigh, and included strains, tendon problems and muscle spasms.

Click here to read the entire article.


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