Emergency Medical Care During a Sports Event: An Experience

By Dr. J. Gnanaraj, H.Charles Richard M.P.T., and S. Jebaseelan Joisingh, M.P.T.


Sports and Exercise Medicine (SEM) is a specialty now. Sports and Exercise Medicine doctors have finished medical school and residency training in a specialty like rehabilitation medicine (or physiatry) or orthopedic surgery. This is followed by fellowship training in Sports and Exercise Medicine. These doctors have had considerable training in musculoskeletal medicine, so that they can effectively treat muscle, ligament, tendon, and bone problems. They can also treat chronic illnesses such as asthma and diabetes, which can be important for athletes’ performance, and they will often help their patients prevent or manage sports injuries.

However, general practitioners are called to cover for sports events of short duration at various universities and colleges. We present our experience in taking care of the medical needs of a university sports event, where a few thousand sports persons participate.


The medical records of all sports persons treated by the SEESHA Karunya community hospital first aid team during the Karunya Evangeline Memorial Tournament (KEMT) during the last 5 years (2010-14) were reviewed and analyzed.


Inversion injury to the ankle joint was the most common injury, occurring in more than one third of the patients who presented (101/283). Remaining injuries to the lower limb contributed to another third, thus making lower-limb injuries contributing to about two thirds of the injuries (72%).

Game-asia-kabadiFractures were uncommon at only 6%, and almost all of them were in the upper limb. More than two thirds of the fractures were Phalangeal fractures. Kabbadi (89), football (62), hockey (37), volleyball (27) and basketball (19) accounted for most of the injuries.

Other medical conditions like dehydration (11) and diarrhoeal disorders (3) were relatively rare during the events. Table 1 gives the details of the injuries. There were more injuries this year, because there was rain on one of the days. Table 2 gives the list of games and the injuries that were reported to the hospital from the Karunya University during non-event days.

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