National swimmer Lee Eun-ji (17, Bangsango), who was training at the Jincheon Athletes’ Village in preparation for the Hangzhou Asian Games, was injured while undergoing cryotherapy treatment.
An official from the Korean Swimming Federation said on March 30, “Lee Eun-ji was injured while undergoing cryotherapy treatment during her stay at the Jincheon Athletes’ Village. A diagnosis of ‘frostbite’ was made and medical staff recommended treatment for about two weeks,” said a spokesperson for the KFA, adding, “Lee Eun-ji is currently being treated outside the athletes’ village.”
According to the federation, Lee is expected to be fit to compete in the Hangzhou Asian Games, which begin on September 24. However, she may struggle to maintain her performance.
“She is being treated with steroid-containing medication, but she has a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE), so there is no problem for her to participate in international competitions,” said a federation official, adding, “The injury comes at a time when she needs to increase her training intensity. We will help him recover psychologically and physically.”
“We are also investigating how and why the injury occurred,” the federation added.
The organization that operates the cryogenic recovery treatment is the Close Support Team of the National Sports Science Center, which is part of the Korea Institute of Sports Policy and Science.
The center shares the same administrative building as the Korea Olympic Committee’s training headquarters in Jincheon, but is not part of the KOC.
Many athletes at the Jincheon Athletes’ Village have used the machine, including members of the swimming team, who have been receiving cryotherapy since February.
Lee Eun-ji is reportedly the first athlete to be injured while undergoing cryotherapy.
An official from the Sports Science Support Center told Yonhap, “Athletes in various sports use cryotherapy to quickly wash away fatigue,” adding, “As of the 25th of this month, 1,98 cases (including duplicate treatments) have been performed on 279 athletes in 29 sports.”
“Last year, we administered 1,062 treatments to 433 athletes, and there were no adverse events until Eunji’s case.”
Lee received the treatment at the National Sports Science Support Center in Jincheon Athletes’ Village on May 25, using cryotherapy.
Unfamiliar with cryotherapy, Lee complained of pain after the treatment and underwent a medical examination out of town.
With the medical team recommending about two weeks of treatment, Lee plans to focus on her recovery for the time being.
Lee Eun-ji is South Korea’s top female backstroker, holding the national record (1:00.03). At the Fukuoka World Championships in July, she was part of the 400-meter mixed medley relay team that set a new Korean record (3:47.09).
At the Hangzhou Asian Games, she will compete in the 50-meter backstroke, 100-meter backstroke, 200-meter backstroke, and mixed medley relay.
She will not be able to swim for another week, giving her even less time to prepare for the Games.
With the Asian Games just around the corner, the KOC is reportedly looking into the data from the Sports Science Support Center to see which athletes have received the treatment and will consider asking athletes to stop using cryotherapy before the Asian Games. 파워볼사이트