Nanjing 2014: Injury prevention advice at the Youth Olympic Village

During their two-week stay at the Youth Olympic Village, hundreds of young athletes dropped in at the Injury Prevention Booth which was set up as part of the Nanjing 2014 Culture and Education Programme.

Youth Olympic Village residents who visited the Injury Prevention Booth were presented with a host of information and advice on different ways to prevent or look after injuries that could jeopardise their sporting careers.

“We help them to protect their health by teaching them how to train in a way that prevents injuries in their specific sports,” explained Dr Torbjorn Soligard, Project Officer for the IOC Medical and Scientific Department.

“We know from research and previous experiences that athletes who use their legs a lot tend to get lower-limb injuries, whereas in sports where the upper body is used, athletes get injuries in that part of their body. It’s very much related to what kind of movements you make in your sport.”

The booth featured a number of stations where athletes could practise a range of different exercises designed to help prevent injuries or aid recovery.

“I play table tennis, and I normally have trouble with my shoulder,” said Portuguese competitor Diego Chen. “That’s where most table tennis players suffer injuries. I think this is a good way to learn how to avoid aggravating your injuries, because you’re working specific parts of the body, which is good.”

Chen’s compatriot, trampolinist Pedro Ribeiro Ferriera, shared his positive outlook. “This is a very good idea, because sometimes we’re not sure about what kind of exercises we need to be doing to prevent the types of injuries we get. Learning how to perform those exercises has been pretty interesting.”

Finnish gymnast Jani Tanskanen, one of the Athlete Role Models at Nanjing 2014, summed up the initiative with some important advice for those embarking on a sporting career. “Variety is the key,” he remarked.

“There’s not just one special drill out there that will help you. You have to make these exercises an integral part of your training regime. It doesn’t take a lot of time, but it helps you to build up resistance and prevent injuries that come along, especially if you end up having a long career.”

Get Set, an app designed to prevent injury is available on iOS and Android, and is accessible for free.