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Elbow Injuries Detected on Magnetic Resonance Imaging in Athletes Participating in the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Summer Olympic Games

Alizai, Hamza MD*,†; Engebretsen, Lars MD, PhD‡,§,∥; Jarraya, Mohamed MD¶,#; Roemer, Frank W. MD¶,**; Guermazi, Ali MD, PhD

Journal of Computer Assisted Tomography: November/December 2019 - Volume 43 - Issue 6 - p 981–985
doi: 10.1097/RCT.0000000000000929
Musculoskeletal Imaging

Background Athletes are prone to both acute and chronic overuse injuries of the elbow joint. The purpose of this study was to describe the frequency, anatomic distribution, and severity of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)–detected elbow joint injuries among athletes who competed in the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Summer Olympics.

Methods All sports injuries reported by the National Olympic Committee medical teams and the Organizing Committee medical staff during the 2016 Summer Olympics were analyzed. Magnetic resonance imaging was performed at the International Olympic Committee's polyclinic within the Olympic Village, using 3- and 1.5-T scanners. The MRIs were read centrally and retrospectively by musculoskeletal radiologists with expertise in sports injuries. The distribution of elbow joint injuries by anatomic location and sports discipline and the severity of injuries were recorded.

Results A total of 1101 injuries were reported in the 11,274 athletes from 207 teams at the Games. Central review of MRI revealed elbow joint injuries in 15 athletes (60% male; median age, 22 years; range, 18–39 years). Ligamentous injuries were most common, with injuries of the ulnar collateral ligament being the most prevalent (n = 12; 80%), followed by the common flexor tendon (n = 8; 53%). Osseous injuries were far less common (n = 3; 20%), with no acute fractures seen. Weightlifting (n = 4; 27%) and judo (n = 4; 27%) athletes were most commonly affected.

Conclusion Magnetic resonance imaging–detected elbow injuries during the 2016 Summer Olympics affected mainly the ulnar collateral ligament and the common flexor tendon, with the highest occurrence in weight lifting and judo.

From the *Department of Radiology, Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children, Dallas, TX

New York University Langone Health, New York, NY

Medical and Scientific Department, International Olympic Committee, Lausanne, Switzerland

§Oslo Sports Trauma Research Center, Department of Sports Medicine, Norwegian School of Sport Sciences

Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Oslo University Hospital, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway

Quantitative Imaging Center, Department of Radiology, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA

#Department of Radiology, Mercy Catholic Medical Center, Darby, PA

**Department of Radiology, University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Erlangen, Germany.

Received for publication April 30, 2019; accepted July 2, 2019.

Correspondence to: Hamza Alizai, MD, NYU Radiology, 660 1st Ave, New York, NY 10016 (e-mail:

A.G. is the President of Boston Imaging Core Lab, LLC, and a consultant to Merck Serono, AstraZeneca, Pfizer, GE Healthcare, OrthoTrophix, Sanofi, and TissueGene. F.W.R. is a shareholder of Boston Imaging Core Lab, LLC. L.E. is a consultant to Arthrex and Smith and Nephew. Other authors have nothing to disclose.

Online date: November 15, 2019

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