For these games, there are over 1800 medical professionals, including medical doctors, physiotherapists, chiropractors, massage therapists, and, taking the lead in many venues are Certified Athletic Therapists!
Many of the visiting teams brought medical support with them, however, the medical professionals on the host medical team have access to hospital referrals, advanced equipment, and knowledge of local protocols to ensure that every athlete, home or away, is well taken care of!
That being said, the planning committee has followed the Athletic Therapist's motto: Plan for the Worst, Hope for the Best!
So far, I've been stationed at the Mississauga Sports Centre (AKA, the Hershey Centre) taking care of Judo and Wrestling athletes as they prepare for and recover from their matches. Athletes are invited to use the facility to train in the days prior to their competition, and we are here to respond to serious injuries, but more importantly help with recovery and damage control for chronic conditions.
A great opportunity working with medical professionals from such different backgrounds, and we all have a different way of approaching each individual injury or condition! Taking home new skills to be able to better care for my athletes in my practice in Guelph makes the volunteerism worth it.
The BEST part though? Treating a athlete (even if it's something as tiny as an ice bag) and later watching them step onto the world stage to do what they do best! While the athletes are training hard and giving their best, I like to think that the treatments and TLC that we offer are helping to create the best environment for athletic performance.
Today I watched one of the athletes that I worked with while at the University of Guelph compete in the Greco Roman wrestling competition, and got a overwhelming sense of having been part of something bigger, even though my part in his athletic journey was minuscule. Hopefully as I progress through my career, I have more opportunities to help athletes do what they do, by doing what I do best!