The Olympic Games are underway and unfortunately a French gymnast Samir Ait Said broke his leg after landing his vault. The 26 year old gymnast was considered a medal contender for this years’ games but unfortunately his Olympic experience is cut short. I have watched the video several times and I think the main problem was the way in which he landed.
There are five parts that make up a vault.
- The run (The approach to the table)
- Pre-flight (The time between the springboard and the contact with the table)
- Contact with the table (The gymnast pushes off the table)
- Post-flight (Aerial maneuvers performed by the gymnast)
All five parts of the vault are judged but the most exciting part for the spectator is in the post flight phase. This is when the gymnast performs twists, flips, and a variety of aerial maneuvers. Mr. Said appeared to be attempting three complete flips but upon his landing his feet and legs look to be out of alignment. The force exerted on the bones in that misalignment is what I believe caused the break. We all can logically agree that this is not the first time this gymnast has completed this vault and it probably will not be his last. That being said the improper angle of force on the leg bones is what most likely led to the fracture.
Mr. Said in a tweet reported that he suffered an open fracture of his tibia and fibula, it was fixed surgically, and he is doing well. He is looking forward to cheering for his team mates. The surgery that was performed was an open repair and internal fixation of the leg bones. Meaning the surgeon realigned the leg bones and placed screws and plates across the fracture site to hold everything together. The bones should heal in six to eight weeks and Said will have to undergo rigorous physical therapy.
In the meantime let us all hope that no one else has to suffer this type of injury so that they may enjoy a full Olympic experience.