Research Output
The usage of multidisciplinary physical therapies at the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic Summer Games: an observational study
  Objective: To describe the usage of physical therapies services –physiotherapy, osteopath, chiropractic, and sports massage –by athletes and non-athletes at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games Polyclinic, and across different sports.

Methods: Treatments delivered by the multidisciplinary team of physical therapies were recorded throughout the 32 days of operation of the Olympic Polyclinic by entry into an Electronic Medical Record system. Encounters included information on provider discipline, treatment modalities, and athlete reason for use of the service. Cold-therapy total immersion ice baths (TIIB) were provided as part of the services, but were reported and analysed separately.

There were 4,993 encounters (4,038 athlete, 955 non-athlete encounters) in 1,395 athletes and 393 non-athletes, (12.4%) of all athletes seeking treatment. For all four provider disciplines, as well as for TIIB, the primary reason for athlete attendance was for recovery (52% of all encounters), followed by injury treatment (30%), and maintenance (16%). Athletes reported “injury” as the main reason for physiotherapy visits (92% of all encounters,2.8 encounters per athlete), chiropractic (94%,1.9) and osteopathy (91%,1.8) visits. Almost all TIIB visits were used for recovery purposes (98% of all TIIB encounters; 2.1 encounters per athlete). Athletes from handball (37% of all handball athletes), followed by judo (22%), and athletics (21%), presented the largest user groups.

Conclusion: This is the first paper from an Olympic Polyclinic to evaluate the physical therapies’ activity, and athlete’s reason for use of the multidisciplinary physical therapies team, including total immersion ice bath provision. These results emphasise the importance of a multidisciplinary approach.

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    15 June 2020

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Grant, M., Steffen, K., & Palmer, D. (2021). The usage of multidisciplinary physical therapies at the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic Summer Games: an observational study. Brazilian Journal of Physical Therapy, 25(3), 262-270.



physical therapy, multidisciplinary team, rehabilitation, total immersion ice bath, Olympic athlete, injury

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