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2nd International Sports Congress, Rio de Janeiro Close to the athletes

Issue 03/2016

Sports physicians don’t get the chance to experience this type of ideal field situation every year: During the Summer Olympics in Rio, physicians, physiotherapists, and orthotists discussed issues related to current sports-medicine treatment chains.

At the beginning of August 2016, Rio de Janeiro was the site of what were likely the most extensive discussions anywhere in the world regarding medical care for elite athletes. The discussions were conducted within the framework of the Bauerfeind International Sports Congress, which was held for the second time in Rio this year following the premiere event that took place during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. Besides staging the congress with high-ranking participants, Bauerfeind also offered a special treatment service at the Olympic Village medical clinic in Rio (see page 20). The congress location was closely related to the topic at hand, as the event was held in the Associação Brasileira de Beneficente Reabilitação rehabilitation center (ABBR) in Rio de Janeiro. Founded in 1954, the ABBR was the first interdisciplinary center of its kind in Brazil , and these days it sets the standard of orthopedic care in the country.

Transfer of knowledge to popular sports and the treatment of amateur athletes

Speakers at the two-and-a-half week congress included physicians, physiotherapists, and orthotists, some of whom have many years of experience in the Olympic environment. Among other things, the participants explored possibilities regarding medical care and treatment in elite sports, and also examined the limits to what can be achieved. Many discussions focused on knee, ankle, and spine injuries, whereby it quickly became clear that some of the knowledge gained through the global care and treatment of elite athletes can be transferred to popular sports (see article on Dr. Yacoub, page 24). This is especially relevant with regard to the use of orthopedic aids for preventive and rehabilitative purposes (see article by Dr. Abraham, page 22). The expanded possibilities for applying various supports, orthoses, and compression stockings were “hotly debated,” as was reported by Congress President PD Dr. Stefan Klima from Leipzig University. All participants agreed that the quality of the products, as well as their correct application, are key factors for achieving success with treatments.

The supporting program included a visit by congress participants to the German House, where a group portrait was taken in the press center.
The supporting program included a visit by congress participants to the German House, where a group portrait was taken in the press center.

Returning to competition after an injury

The issues being discussed went from abstract to very real following an incident involving German gymnast Andreas Toba, who suffered a torn cruciate ligament just a few kilometers away from the congress site. Toba finished his routine, however, and was then supplied with a GenuLoc knee orthosis from Bauerfeind. The next day, the congress participants visited the German House and got details of the incident first-hand during a press conference. The scheduled discussion topic for that day – “When is the right time to perform surgery on an ACL lesion?” – suddenly became very relevant indeed. In general , the question of when to “return to play” was repeatedly addressed during the congress (see article on Dr. Fehske, page 25). Among other things, sports therapists and physical therapists demonstrated tests that they use to determine when it’s safe for athletes to return to training and competition. These tests can be a big and welcome help to many doctors when they have to make such decisions.†

The complete Congress report is here to download

Pictures: Bauerfeind, DSM/Kai-Uwe Waerner