Background: Major, rare and complex incidents can occur at any mass-gathering sporting event and team medical staff should be appropriately prepared for these. One such event, the Athens Olympic Games in 2004, presented a significant sporting and medical challenge. This study concerns an epidemiological analysis of foot and ankle injuries during the Games.
Methods: An observational, epidemiological survey was used to analyse injuries in all sport tournaments (men's and women's) over the period of the Games.
Results: A total of 624 injuries (525 soft tissue injuries and 99 bony injuries) were reported. The most frequent diagnoses were contusions, sprains, fractures, dislocations and lacerations. Significantly more injuries in male (58%) versus female athletes (42%) were recorded. The incidence, diagnosis and cause of injuries differed substantially between the team sports.
Conclusion: Our experience from the Athens Olympic Games will inform the development of public health surveillance systems for future Olympic Games, as well as other similar mass events.