Every two years the world gathers in front of televisions and computer screens to watch elite athletes compete on the most grueling stage, the Olympics.
The games bring moments that become forever-ingrained in history – from Michael Phelps becoming the most decorated Olympian of all time to The Miracle on Ice.
But what about those who prepared their entire lives for their moment, only to get injured while training, in a practice run or perhaps worst of all – during competition.
During the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver, 286 athletes were injured and one, a member of the Georgian luge team, died during a training run.
Beginning with the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) commissioned a team of doctors and researchers to record the injuries that take place during the games and find ways to combat them in the future.
Doctor Lars Engebretsen, Head of Scientific Activities for the IOC has studied the findings ever since. After each Olympics, Engebretsen, along with a team of researchers, release their findings and recommendations.
Prior to the Sochi Games, Engebretsen touched on some of the new safety measures.
“FIS (International Ski Federation) has changed the rules for the curvature on carving skies, and they are also setting new standards for helmets. New weight regulations are in place for ski jumpers to prevent anorexia, FIS is doing a very good job,” he said. “The IHF (International Hockey Federation) has implemented new rules in hockey to prevent concussions.”
So far in Sochi, Engebretsen says injuries are pretty comparable to the Vancouver games, with a few exceptions.
“It looks like the knees in the newer sports are at risk. Fortunately, the concussion numbers are decreasing to a much lower level than in Vancouver,” he said.
Below is a breakdown of injuries during the Vancouver Olympics by gender, sport and injury location.