Olympic-Sized Injuries in Rio
When athletics become not only your profession but also a defining characteristic in your life, it’s hard to say when “enough is enough.” The Olympic Games have a history of showing fortitude and determination in its competitors, but there have been many examples of athletes with severe injuries pushing past their own limits to reach the top of the podium.
Kerri Strug is undoubtedly one of the most notable injured athletes of the past. The gymnast with two torn ligaments in her ankle was able to score an impressive 9.712 on a difficult vault. Once she landed, she immediately took all weight off of her left foot and proceeded to make her way off the mat with the help of others. With this vault, she helped secure gold for the 1996 women’s gymnastics team, but had to be carried to the awards ceremony by Coach Bela Karolyi.
This year’s Olympic Games in Rio proved to be no different than the ones in year’s past. Several athletes worked through severe injuries while others made the call to drop out. These athletes were noticeably affected by their injuries:
Armenian weightlifter Andranik Karapetyan – hyperextension of the elbow while lifting
French gymnast Samir Aït Saïd – double break in leg
Cyclists Richie Porte (Australia) and Vincenzo Nibali (Italy) – various injuries after crash, including broken collar bones
Cyclist Annemiek van Vleuten (Netherlands) – three broken vertebrae and a major concussion after crash
Gymnast Elissa Downie (Great Britain) – fell directly on head and neck after tumbling pass*
*continued to compete after injury
As a physical therapist, when do you think “enough is enough”? Are there times where you think that the athlete should have to put their health second? Let us know what you think in the comments.