Olympic health update: Zika, a broken leg, and bruised athletes swimming in poo
© 2016 Roy Benaroch, MD
In case you missed it: in between commercials, NBC has been showing snippets of American athletes kicking butt in Rio. I believe there are other countries competing – I saw them on opening night, warming up for the all-important Taking Selfies event – but multiple health scares have apparently sent many Olympians from non-NBC-watching countries into hiding. And who can blame them? Rio may not be the safest place for anyone right now.
There’s Zika, of course, a virus spread by both mosquitoes and sex. Brazil’s got plenty of both. Gisele looked stunning in her prolonged demonstration of a slinky mosquito-repellent dress.
The swimmers have their own problems to face, especially Michael Phelps (who may be the only swimmer there, as far as we can tell.) Many are covered with round bruises from “cupping”, a skill discovered by countless preschoolers who’ve sucked cups onto their own faces to make funny snouts. Or maybe the marks are from TV producers beating them away from Michael Phelps so they don’t get in the way of the cameramen. Either way, with Michael Phelps on the team, they’re sure to win the men’s relay, sweep the dressage events, and maybe get featured in the next Hardee’s commercial as a burger topping.
There are added challenges for the outdoor swimmers in their featured “sewage” events. Athletes have been told to swim “as fast as possible, without breathing much, clenching shut your mouth and any other possible openings. Including that one.” Fortunately, Michael Phelps has been able to evolve a blowhole.
At the gymnastics arena, the world winced, looked away, and then watched repeated replays of French vaulter Samir Ait Said’s leg bend in a way that a leg should never bend. Is it possible that athletes are being pushed beyond the limits of what a human body can do? Or is it just a lack of enough kinesiology tape and Swarovski crystals? And what does Michael Phelps say about it?
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