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Significant Injuries Through Out the Games

Every four years people from all walks of life gather from near and far to watch people push the limits of the human body. Gymnasts train from the time they can walk to one day compete for the gold in the Olympic Games. They need to be fearless as they soar through the air in their events, utilizing strength, flexibility, and knowing their body position while twisting around before landing safely on the ground. Many people do not realize the importance of the landing when it comes to gymnastics, and this is something that French Gymnast Samir Ait will not soon forget.



Samir was attempting to land from the vault during the men’s teams qualifications and did not quite stick the landing. During the landing attempt, it appears that his left leg was Jonathan_Hortonbent under him, and the force of landing was enough to snap both bones in his lower leg. This is what you would call a tib-fib fracture. The tibia (the weight bearing bone) and fibula (the outer ankle bone) are the bones that make up the lower leg, and fractures of the tibia are the most common long bone fracture that happens in the body.


The reason that fractures become more of a common issue in athletics is from the amount of repetitive action, or stress placed on the body, hence the term stress fracture. Many times when an athlete sustains a fracture, it is due to the constant micro-trauma they are placing on their bones every day. You can click here for more information about lower leg fractures.The type of injury that Ait sustained was considered a medical emergency and he was transported to the hospital for treatment by medical staff. It is important that for any suspected fracture that you be treated by a medical professional.




There are several serious complications that can happen if treated improperly, including:

  • Neurovascular compromise and nerve injury

  • Compartment syndrome

  • Infection

  • Osteomyelitis

  • Delayed union, nonunion, or malunion (healing)

  • Amputation or skin loss


Healing depends of several things, such as the severity (or the grade) of the injury, soft tissue damage to the surrounding area, and if any complications during arise during recovery.  These complications can happen after fractures regardless of how the break happened.  It is very important that you contact a doctor if you suspect a fracture to make sure to receive the proper care.




By: Riki Duncan, MA. Ed, ATC, LAT