The usage of multidisciplinary physical therapies at the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic Summer Games: an observational study

Marie-Elaine Grant, Kathrin Steffen, Debbie Palmer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Background: This observational research study analyses the uptake of physical therapies treatments in the Polyclinic during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

Objective: To describe the usage of physical therapies services – physical therapy, osteopath, chiropractic, and sports massage – by athletes and non-athletes and across different sports.

Methods: The multidisciplinary team of physical therapies recorded treatment modalities, information on provider discipline and reason for attendance, in an Electronic Medical Record system throughout the 32 days of operation of the Olympic Polyclinic. Cold-therapy total immersion ice baths (TIIB) were provided as part of the services, but were reported and analysed separately.

Results: There were 4993 encounters (4038 athletes, 955 non-athlete encounters). 1395 athletes (12.4% of all athletes) and 393 non-athletes sought treatment. For all four provider disciplines, in addition to 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 physical therapy (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 (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 Olympic Polyclinic study evaluates 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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalBrazilian Journal of Physical Therapy
Early online date15 Jun 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 15 Jun 2020


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