To the best of my knowledge, this study is the first to describe sports injuries sustained by athletes during a NSF in Nigeria. Even though the study presents sports injuries reported by athletes from Lagos states only, the information provided reveals the type of sports injuries to expect from a sample of athletes participating in the NSF. Furthermore, studies on the types of treatment modalities administered on Nigerian athletes during major sporting events such as the NSF were not found while searching literatures for the present study. Such data are necessary for adequate planning of medical coverage by the state and federal governments.
Similar to the profile of injuries in other studies [4–6], most of the injuries sustained during the 16th NSF were minor in severity. The gender distribution (male/female) of sports injuries was found to be in the ratio 2:1 and incidence of injuries was higher in male athletes. This may be because Team Lagos had more participating male athletes than females; exposing them to a higher risk of injuries. This finding agrees with the common trend in literature that more males participate in sports than females [4–10]. Although, participation of female athletes is on the rise globally, male athletes are still much more involved in sports than females.
As in other studies [5–10], muscle strains and ligament sprains were documented as the most prevalent injuries. Although a considerably high frequency of injuries was recorded for the head/neck and the upper limb (15.7% and 27.9% respectively) the lower limb (50%) was the most injured body part. It has been generally documented that the lower extremities pose the highest number of sports injuries in sports medicine clinics [7, 8] and during sports competitions [4–6, 10]. The reason for a high prevalence of head/neck and upper limb injuries during the 16th NSF may be because most sports involving heavy use of the upper limbs (such as basketball, cricket, baseball) and hitting of the head (boxing, taekwondo, karate) were adequately covered by members of the medical team. In this study, muscle strains were documented to be more prevalent in the neck, shoulder and arm while ligament sprains were recorded to be more prevalent in the lower limbs, especially the knee and ankle joints.
A prevalence of over 60% of injuries in basketball, baseball, cricket, rugby and hockey contradicts some other studies where athletics was reported to have the highest number of injuries [4, 6, 7]. It is interesting to know that athletics with a company of a few other sports had the lowest injury risk during the games. This may be because athletics and some other sports were not assigned medical personnel due to low staff strength. It is therefore possible that a few minor on-site injuries sustained by athletes in these sports might have been missed. It is also interesting to know that rugby, despite having the highest number of athletes had the lowest injury risk among the team sports. Reason for this may be because Team Lagos lost out at the preliminary stages of both male and female rugby.
The 308 applications of treatment modalities on injuries sustained within this time period of the games may not be a true reflection of the total number of applications; sometimes treatments rendered might not have been recorded as indicated by Thompson and Ratecliffe . Cryotherapy, bandaging and massage were the most frequently used treatment modalities during the games. This is in accordance with a study by Jelsma et al . However, therapeutic ultrasound, transcutenous electrical nerve stimulator (TENS), exercise therapy and massage were documented as more frequently used treatment modalities over cryotherapy in other studies [4, 9]. There may not be any bases for comparison in this case; these studies focused on injuries treated off-site at a polyclinic and the physiotherapy department of a sports medicine centre where several other sophisticated modalities were available. The present study investigated treatment interventions both on-site and off-site and most of the injuries were "minor" acute injuries that required cryotherapy as first aid on-site intervention. However, availability of a therapeutic ultrasound machine and some other physiotherapy modalities such as TENS and tapping materials would have helped in better off-site management of some "minor" injuries sustained by key athletes who were indispensable players in some team sports.
A few treatments in the category of "others" were administered mostly on "moderate" injuries and these included prescriptions of pain medications/injections and suturing of deep lacerations.