Spordimeditsiini SA had a busy year. While the number of health examinations of young, professional and fitness athletes is increasing again, so is the number of appointments with orthopaedic surgeons and physiotherapy treatments. The share of completely healthy young athletes is decreasing.
Compared to the year before, in 2016, the amount of sport and exercise medicine health examinations started growing again. Especially significant increase was characteristic of paid health examinations for young athletes and fitness athletes. Last year, Spordimeditsiini SA performed a total of 3723 health examinations, of which the number of young athletes’ health examinations constituted 3061, and the largest age group to have had health examinations was the one between the age of 12 and 16. The total number of adults to have had sport and exercise medicine health examinations was 662, of which 119 were professional athletes and members of professional teams, and the rest were fitness athletes. Broken down by types of sport, the largest share of young athletes to have had health examinations was formed by football players (28%), followed by basketball players (15%) and track and field athletes (12%).
Health examinations show that the share of completely healthy children is has been steadily declining year after year. Cases of fatigue and exhaustion have become very frequent. In 2016 alone, doctors at Spordimeditsiini SA set some training restrictions on approximately 300 young athletes, deciding to employ monitoring or call them back for follow-up tests. As a rule, such restrictions are temporary. Still, the doctors have to recommend some three young athletes per year to stop doing any type of sports entirely. Lately, the doctors have also had to admit that their recommendations, especially those concerning nutrition and rest, are often ignored.
The number of appointments with orthopaedic surgeons and physiotherapy treatments focusing on sports injuries has also been gradually increasing. Last year, orthopaedic surgeons had 2213 patients, of whom 640 were young athletes, and 1573 were adults. The most common diagnosis established by the orthopaedic surgeon was soft tissue disorders related to use, overuse and pressure, followed by derangement of meniscus due to old tear or injury while the shoulder rotator cuff syndrome occupied the third place. As far as young athletes are concerned, the most common injury among them was also soft tissue disorders related to use, overuse and pressure, followed by chondromalacia and patella chondromalacia.
The total number of appointments with physiotherapists last year amounted to 1095, of which about a third were those of young athletes. Spordimeditsiini SA performed a total of 11,068 physiotherapy treatments, of which the largest number of treatments was in ultrasound therapy.
Spordimeditsiini SA would like to draw the attention of sports federations to the fact that there have been changes in prevention project aimed at young athletes starting with 1 January 2017. The target group of the young athletes’ health examination project now comprises teenagers aged 19 and under who practice sports (including competitions) at least 3 times per week in addition to Physical Education lessons at school. Young athletes who train and compete at least three times per week are eligible for a health examination once every two years. Young athletes who train and compete five or more times per week are eligible for a health examination once per year.
Spordimeditsiini SA (Sports Medicine Foundation) was established in 1998 by the Estonian Olympic Committee to ensure the provision of high-quality sport and exercise medicine services to professional athletes. Today, Spordimeditsiini SA offers a range of sport and exercise medicine tests, treatments and consultations to fitness athletes, young athletes and professional athletes as well as anyone who practices or intends to start practicing any sport. The majority of the Estonian Olympic team which competed at the Olympic Games in Rio also had their health examinations conducted by Spordimeditsiini SA.