For Olympians, the threat of injury is always hanging overhead.
Dr. Brian Krabak from UW Medicine's Sports Medicine sat down with us to share his first-hand experience about the risks these athletes take and what amateurs can do to protect themselves from injury.
"There is that 16 percent or so (of athletes) who experience some type of injury, which leads to a significant change in their training, even more than seven days, and you think about how devastating that is," Krabak said. "Here is someone who has spent their entire life, perhaps even four years of this quad plan to get there, and they sustain a significant injury, which is what? Some type of ligament injury or some type of fracture that takes them out of the running to compete."
Krabak says during the Sochi games around 10 percent to 12 percent of athletes experienced some sort of injury and 8 percent or so experienced some type of illness. That translates to hundreds of injuries, but as Krabak says, fortunately two-thirds of those injuries were minor.
As a doctor, Krabak has attended athletes at several Olympic games. At his practice at University of Washington, he sees amateur athletes face the same types of injuries as he sees in Olympians.
From overuse to traumatic, he says many injuries can be avoided by taking care of yourself. He emphasizes the need for nutrition, hydration, and sleep.
Krabak suggests before a big ski trip, don't stay out late with friends, warm up before you hit the slopes, and never try to emulate your Olympic heroes. Basically, kids don't try this at home. He says the bottom line is to have fun, but beware of your limitations and use common sense.