A study done during the 2006 Winter Games in Turin found that 330 athletes, or about 13% of the total, sought medical care. Nineteen athletes had to be rushed to the hospital for serious traumas (five head, two cervical, three upper limb, one abdominal and one backbone). The list of casualties even included two curlers who suffered traumas after falls on the ice. At the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing, roughly 10% of the athletes sought medical attention, but fewer than half had injuries that might have prevented them from competing. (The most-treated maladies were sprained ankles and pulled thigh muscles.)
What will set these coming Games apart is the result of recent advances in medical technology and physical therapy. Experts say Vancouver’s Games will feature a record number of athletes who have suffered a catastrophic injury that, years earlier, might have ended their athletic careers.