Madison Hartman & Minda Smiley
Title: It’s All Fun and Games Until Someone Gets Hurt: Hundreds of Olympians are Injured During Winter Olympic Games
Slug: Olympic Injuries
As the winter Olympics heat up in Sochi, each news cycle alerts us of yet another athlete’s injury. Before the games even began, a young American free skier broke her leg and had to be wheeled through the opening ceremony.
Data from the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver breaks down all the injuries from those games. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) commissioned a team of doctors and researchers to record injuries that took place during the games in order to find out more about injury rates during the games to try to combat them in the future.
We’ve talked to Doctor Lars Engebretsen, Head of Scientific Activities for the IOC, to help put some of the information in context. We also spoke with the Minnesota Gophers Athletic Trainer for Men’s Hockey so he could help explain why so many hockey players get injured. Currently, we are trying to get in touch with someone at the Sport Injury Prevention Center to see if they have been influenced by the study. We would also like to know what work they have done to try to prevent Olympic injuries.
Our graphics break down the injuries primarily by gender, sport, and injury location. Our first graph features a skeleton (front and back) that shows total injuries by location and number.
Our second graph is a bar graph that shows injuries by event type using percentages. For example, the first and highest bar shows that ice hockey contributed to 18% of the injuries. When you hover over the bar, you can see just how many injuries there were (in this case, 82).
Our third graph is also a bar graph that shows the most common injuries by place of injury and sport.
We also include some key takeaway facts, including most dangerous sport for female athletes compared to male athletes as well as which gender received more injuries per 1,000 athletes.
Overall, our work distills this information into graphics that can help readers get a more comprehensive understanding of just how Olympic injuries break down. Through adding expert opinion, we are able to see how this data compares to the injuries in the recent Sochi games as well as find out what steps are being taken to prevent injuries. They can also explain why some sports are more dangerous than others and what can be done to help athletes compete as safely as possible.