In the summer of 2012 I was fortunate enough to be selected to work as a Physiotherapist at the London 2012 Paralympic Games. Having never worked at an event of that scale it was an exciting opportunity and as Olympic fever gripped the nation this was only heightened!
I was allocated the role of working within the Polyclinic within the Athlete Village which provided medical services to the athletes, managers and VIP’s of all nations and all sports. The Polyclinic was an amazing facility – a 500m2 mini hospital with an onsite A&E, Sports Doctors, Physiotherapy, Sports Massage, Dentists, MRI & Pharmacy etc all under one roof. We were well equipped with a rehab gym, 4 anti-gravity treadmills, a hydrotherapy pool and a large treatment area.
The pace within the clinic was pretty hectic. We treated from 7am to 11pm and the flow of patients was virtually constant! I had the opportunity to treat a huge variety of injuries including acute muscle and ligament injuries and more chronic tendon and joint problems. One of the major difficulties in providing care was overcoming the language barrier and some innovative practice was required to make an accurate diagnosis!
Working within a large team of Physios/Osteopaths and Chiropractors with varied sporting backgrounds provided a great opportunity to learn and share ideas. Being part of a multidisciplinary team with immediate access to imaging and other medical staff enabled treatment to be delivered very quickly.
Some days of extra Physiotherapy cover was required at training and competition venues and each of us in turn travelled to a variety of locations with different teams. This was a great opportunity watch the athletes in action and I was involved with wheelchair basketball, sitting volleyball and fencing. The highlight for me was the day I spent at the warm up track for the stadium within the Olympic park watching Team GB athletes including Jonnie Peacock, David Weir and Hannah Cockcroft prepare for competition! I also managed to spend one evening in the stadium as a spectator and it was very satisfying to watch an athlete I had treated earlier that day standing on the medal podium.
Working as a Physiotherapist within parasport was a new experience for me, great fun and challenging professionally.
Following on from my time in London I then applied for a Physiotherapy role at the Commonwealth Games Glasgow 2014 and have recently been informed that I have been allocated the role of Field of Play Physiotherapist in the S.S.E Arena which will host the gymnastics, judo, boxing, wrestling and weightlifting! This will be quite a different role to London as I will be within the team located next to the play, providing immediate care to the acute injuries that occur during competition. I look forward to learning more about my role during my training – watch this space!
Anna Curnow, Physiotherapist, Physiokinetic Limited