Case Report

Sports injuries sustained at the Sixth All Africa Games: The physiotherapy perspective

Jennifer Jelsma, Heather Dawson, Graham Smith, Tambu Masaya
South African Journal of Physiotherapy | Vol 53, No 3 | a607 | DOI: | © 2018 Jennifer Jelsma, Heather Dawson, Graham Smith, Tambu Masaya | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 19 September 2018 | Published: 30 November 1997

About the author(s)

Jennifer Jelsma, Department o f Rehabilitation, University of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe
Heather Dawson, Department o f Rehabilitation, University of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe
Graham Smith, PhysioTech, Glasgow, United Kingdom
Tambu Masaya, Harare Central Hospital, Zimbabwe

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The Sixth All Africa Games were held in Zimbabwe in September 1995. A voluntary physiotherapy service was provided to guest athletes. Data was gathered relating to onset, mechanism, region and management of injuries. During the 10-day period of the games, 541 treatments were performed on 258 guest athletes. The onset of injury in 35.3% of cases was prior to the start of the games. Overuse was the most common mechanism of injury and 24% of injuries were in the chronic stage. The lower limb was the site of 49.5% of injuries with strains and sprains contributing 75% of the injuries in this study. All together 16 treatment modalities were used, the most frequently used being ice combined with compression. Sixty-two percent of athletes attended for a single treatment.
The mechanisms, distribution and types of injuries were similar to those described by other authors. Of relevance is the number of athletes who were carrying the injury at the commencement of the games and that the main mechanism of injury was overuse. This has implications for training and treatment. The need to provide a comprehensive first treatment with advice regarding ongoing self-management was essential as the majority attended only once.


multi-sport; epidemiology of sports injuries; physiotherapy


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