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OLYMPICS LONDON 2012


service provision throughout the Games, including the recruitment process for each service. The leader of each strategic team will have to undergo a selection process and the post will demand a certain level of commitment in the run up to 2012.


It is hoped that all medical volunteers


at the Games will be interviewed before appointment and that all appointments will be for a minimum of 10 consecutive days. It will not be sufficient for applicants to show that they treat athletes within a clinic; the practitioners will require experience of working in the training/competition environment and must be able to integrate well with athletes and support staff.


The other important factor when appointing


staff is how well they will work together. They must have skills that complement each other and provide the broadest scope of treatment possible, while being able to cope with working in a high-pressure situation. Consider discussing, possibly through an interpreter, with an athlete who has trained for four years, the advantages and disadvantages of their injury and the subsequent trauma that may result if they continue to compete. Currently, volunteers on the LOCOG


website can tick a box for “medical” or “first aid”. It is suggested, however, that sports medicine applications will not be processed until 2009–10. Some of the volunteers may come from overseas, and the Health Professions Council registrars have already started to address the issue of how overseas volunteer physiotherapists and those travelling as part of a country’s team medical staff will be registered. Practitioners wishing to volunteer for LOCOG need to be aware that, in line with previous Olympic Games, none of the volunteer medical workforce will be paid or reimbursed for loss of earnings and they will be expected to fund their own accommodation and travel. LOCOG are looking into the possibility of locating relatively cheap accommodation for


www.sportEX.net


the medical volunteers – but it will still be the volunteers who pay. The only meals provided by LOCOG will be those that occur during a working shift. Because of security constraints, LOCOG physiotherapists will not be able to access training and competition venues unless they are on the work rota for that particular venue at that time. Having said all that, it is still an opportunity not to be missed! LOCOG and the International Sports


Federations will use the two years before the Games to run test events. This will allow the competition venues to have a dry run at hosting a major event. Some of these events will be international invitational events, while others will be Olympic qualifying competitions. Not all test events will require local physiotherapy support: some may be run under the auspices of the International Sports Federations, which will make their own arrangements regarding medical support. In addition, many countries and individual sports teams may look to base their training and preparation camps within the UK both immediately before the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games and possibly in the preceding years. Preparation camps are often established as early as four weeks before the Games, in order to allow athletes to recover from jet lag and travel fatigue and to allow access to high-quality training facilities before entering the Olympic Village to compete. LOCOG is required to provide a Pre-Games Training Camp Guide to aid National Olympic


THE AUTHOR TH


Lynn Booth is a chartered physiotherapist who has just returned from the preparation camp in Macau, for Beijing 2008. She is the physiotherapy representative on the medical committee for London 2012 and currently


works with the national teams of the English Ladies’ Golf Association and the Ladies’ Golf Union (Great Britain and Ireland squad) as well as with four of the regional boys’ squads and the national U16, U18 and U21 squads for the English Golf Union. Lynn was Chairman of the British Olympic Association’s Physiotherapy Committee from 1992-2004 and was head physiotherapist for Team GB at the 1996, 2000 and 2004 Olympic Games.


9


Committees (NOCs) and National Paralympic Committees (NPCs) in identifying suitable facilities and sites for their training camps. LOCOG’s stated intention is to provide a service to ensure that teams competing in London 2012 at the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games have the best opportunity to train, prepare and experience what can be offered in the UK before their competition. Facilities across the UK were invited to apply for inclusion in the Pre-Games Training Camp Guide through an open application process, which ran from 24 July 2006 to 31 January 2007. LOCOG received over 1,000 submissions from facilities across the whole of the UK. All applications have now been assessed against a standard set of criteria for Olympic sports and Paralympic Sports, which included consideration of sport-specific requirements. LOCOG was assisted in assessing submissions by the various NGBs, which provided sport-specific feedback, and national and regional sports councils, which conducted additional site visits as required. Final decisions were announced in March 2008 for Olympic sports and in May 2008 for Paralympic sports, and the final online guide was presented to NOCs and NPCs at the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games in Beijing.


Most of these preparation camps will be self-sufficient, but they may require additional local sports science and medicine support. In addition, outlying Olympic venues, eg. sailing at Weymouth, will use local hospital services rather than establish an Olympic polyclinic. Unfortunately there will always be more suitable practitioners than places available. Being unsuccessful in securing a place at a major event should not be seen as a reflection of the practitioner’s ability. Rather, the practitioner should use the experiences gained by working at the sharp end of sports performance and sports injury management to further their professional development. Just as it is the ambition of many athletes to compete in an Olympic Games, so it will be an ambition of many practitioners to work at one. Everyone who has ever been involved with TeamGB or has worked at a multi-sport games appreciates how fortunate they are.


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