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Concept: Special Olympics World Games


Elite athletes endeavour to train and compete even when ill or injured. Their motivation may be intrinsic or due to coach and team pressures. The sports medicine physician plays an important role to risk-manage the health of the competing athlete in partnership with the coach and other members of the support team. The sports medicine physician needs to strike the right ethical and operational balance between health management and optimising performance. It is necessary to revisit the popular delivery model of sports medicine and science services to elite athletes based on the current reductionist multispecialist system lacking in practice an integrated approach and effective communication. Athlete and coach in isolation or with a member of the multidisciplinary support team, often not qualified or experienced to do so, decide on the utilisation of services and how to apply the recommendations. We propose a new Integrated Performance Health Management and Coaching model based on the UK Athletics experience in preparation for the London Olympic and Paralympic Games. The Medical and Coaching Teams are managed by qualified and experienced individuals operating in synergy towards a common performance goal, accountable to a Performance Director and ultimately to the Board of Directors. We describe the systems, processes and implementation strategies to assist the athlete, coach and support teams to continuously monitor and manage athlete health and performance. These systems facilitate a balanced approach to training and competing decisions, especially while the athlete is ill or injured. They take into account the best medical advice and athlete preference. This Integrated Performance Health Management and Coaching model underpinned the Track and Field Gold Medal performances at the London Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Concepts: Medicine, Olympic Games, Management, Philosophy of science, Leadership, Paralympic Games, World Wheelchair and Amputee Games, Special Olympics World Games


SUMMARY Syndromic surveillance is vital for monitoring public health during mass gatherings. The London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games represents a major challenge to health protection services and community surveillance. In response to this challenge the Health Protection Agency has developed a new syndromic surveillance system that monitors daily general practitioner out-of-hours and unscheduled care attendances. This new national system will fill a gap identified in the existing general practice-based syndromic surveillance systems by providing surveillance capability of general practice activity during evenings/nights, over weekends and public holidays. The system will complement and supplement the existing tele-health phone line, general practitioner and emergency department syndromic surveillance systems. This new national system will contribute to improving public health reassurance, especially to meet the challenges of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Olympic Games, London, Summer Olympic Games, Paralympic Games, World Wheelchair and Amputee Games, 2012 Summer Paralympics, Special Olympics World Games


London 2012 is the first Olympic and Paralympic Games to explicitly try and develop socioeconomic legacies for which success indicators are specified - the highest profile of which was to deliver a health legacy by getting two million more people more active by 2012. This editorial highlights how specialists in Sport and Exercise Medicine can contribute towards increasing physical activity participation in the UK, as well as how the National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine might be a useful vehicle for delivering an Olympic health legacy. Key challenges are also discussed such as acquisition of funding to support new physical activity initiatives, appropriate allocation of resources, and how to assess the impact of legacy initiatives.

Concepts: United Kingdom, Olympic Games, Weight loss, London, Summer Olympic Games, Paralympic Games, World Wheelchair and Amputee Games, Special Olympics World Games


Paralympic sport provides sporting opportunities for athletes with a disability, with the Paralympic Games as the main event. Participation in sport is, however, associated with a significant risk for sustaining injuries and illnesses. Our knowledge of sports-related injuries and illnesses in Paralympic sport is very limited and there are no large-scale epidemiological cohort studies. The purpose here is to present a protocol for a prospective longitudinal study: The Sports-Related Injuries and Illnesses in Paralympic Sport Study (SRIIPSS).

Concepts: Cohort study, Longitudinal study, Epidemiology, Olympic Games, Paralympic Games, Special Olympics World Games, International Paralympic Committee, Paralympic sports



BACKGROUND: Little information exists on the illness and injury patterns of athletes preparing for the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Among the possible explanations for the current lack of knowledge are the methodological challenges faced in conducting prospective studies of large, heterogeneous groups of athletes, particularly when overuse injuries and illnesses are of concern. OBJECTIVE: To describe a new surveillance method that is capable of recording all types of health problems and to use it to study the illness and injury patterns of Norwegian athletes preparing for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. METHODS: A total of 142 athletes were monitored over a 40-week period using a weekly online questionnaire on health problems. Team medical personnel were used to classify and diagnose all reported complaints. RESULTS: A total of 617 health problems were registered during the project, including 329 illnesses and 288 injuries. At any given time, 36% of athletes had health problems (95% CI 34% to 38%) and 15% of athletes (95% CI 14% to 16%) had substantial problems, defined as those leading to moderate or severe reductions in sports performance or participation, or time loss. Overuse injuries represented 49% of the total burden of health problems, measured as the cumulative severity score, compared to illness (36%) and acute injuries (13%). CONCLUSIONS: The new method was sensitive and valid in documenting the pattern of acute injuries, overuse injuries and illnesses in a large, heterogeneous group of athletes preparing for the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Concepts: Health care, Medicine, Epidemiology, Illness, Olympic Games, Paralympic Games, World Wheelchair and Amputee Games, Special Olympics World Games


The aim of this retrospective case study is the longitudinal description of the physical and functional parameters of a top-level Paralympic swimmer class S9-SB8-SM9 during four swimming seasons of training, from the Paralympic games in London 2012 to the Paralympic games in Rio 2016. A 22-year-old male swimmer underwent a specific preventive dry-land training based on diaphragmatic breathing, postural alignment, and slow-velocity resistance training aimed to improve his muscle strength. He was tested by using the Functional Movement ScreenTM, photographic postural assessment and vertical jump. The swimmer improved his functional, postural and strength parameters indicating a better functional movement and muscular power. These results shows that a four-year specific dry-land intervention could be capable of enhancing the functional and physical requirements of a top-level Paralympic swimmer. This approach might be a suitable novel alternative for physical therapists and athletic trainers to integrate their training protocols for athletes with similar impairments.

Concepts: Better, Muscle, Olympic Games, Muscular system, Summer Olympic Games, 2016 Summer Olympics, Paralympic Games, Special Olympics World Games


In 2020, Japan will host the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2020 (Tokyo 2020) which will involve a large population influx from various countries to Tokyo, the most populated city in Japan. We summarize the potential health risks for visitors to Tokyo 2020, related to communicable disease risks and other health threats, based on recent national and local surveillance reports.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Demography, United Kingdom, Olympic Games, Paralympic Games, World Wheelchair and Amputee Games, Special Olympics World Games, Judo