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Br J Sports Med. 2018 Apr;52(7):460-464. doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2017-098247. Epub 2017 Dec 7.

Imaging-detected acute muscle injuries in athletes participating in the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Summer Olympic Games.

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Department of Radiology, Quantitative Imaging Center, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
Department of Radiology, Saint-Antoine Hospital, University Paris VI, Paris, France.
Department of Sports Medicine, National Institute of Sports (INSEP), Paris, France.
Department of Radiology, Mercy Catholic Medical Center, Darby, Pennsylvania, USA.
Medical and Scientific Department, International Olympic Committee, Lausanne, Switzerland.
Department of Sports Medicine, Norwegian School of Sport Sciences, Oslo Sports Trauma Research Center, Oslo, Norway.
Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Oslo University Hospital, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway.
Department of Radiology, University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Erlangen, Germany.
Department of Radiology, Stony Brook University School of Medicine, Stony Brook, New York, USA.
Department of Radiology, Clinica de Diagnostico Por Imagem (CDPI) and Multi-Imagem, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Department of Radiology, HCor Hospital and ALTA Diagnostic Center (DASA group), Sao Paulo, Brazil.



Acute muscle injuries in elite athletes are responsible for a large portion of time loss injuries.


To describe the frequency, the anatomic distribution, and severity of imaging-detected acute muscle injuries among athletes who competed in the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Summer Olympics.


We recorded all sports injuries reported by the National Olympic Committee medical teams and the Organising Committee medical staff during the 2016 Summer Olympics. Imaging of acute muscle injuries was performed at the IOC's polyclinic within the Olympic Village using ultrasound and 3.0 T and 1.5 T MRI scanners. The assessment of images was performed centrally by three musculoskeletal radiologists. The distribution of injuries by anatomic location and sports discipline and the severity of injuries were recorded.


In total, 11 274 athletes from 207 teams were included. A total of 1101 injuries were reported. Central review of radiological images revealed 81 acute muscle injuries in 77 athletes (66% male, mean age: 25.4 years, range 18-38 years). Athletics (track and field) athletes were the most commonly affected (n=39, 48%), followed by football players (n=9, 11%). The majority of injuries affected muscles from lower limbs (n=68, 84%), with the hamstring being the most commonly involved. Most injuries were grade 2 injuries according to the Peetrons classification (n=44, 54%), and we found 18 injuries exhibiting intramuscular tendon involvement on MRI.


Imaging-detected acute muscle injuries during the 2016 Summer Olympics affected mainly thigh muscles in athletics disciplines.


MRI; muscle injury; olympic games; ultrasound

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Conflict of interest statement

Competing interests: AG is the president of Boston Imaging Core Lab (BICL) and a consultant to Merck Serono, AstraZeneca, Pfizer, GE Healthcare, OrthoTrophix, Sanofi and TissueGene. FWR and MDC are shareholders of BICL. LE is a consultant to Arthrex and Smith & Nephew.

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