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Physio helps at Special Olympics

Athletes at this summer’s Special Olympics had physio input into health advice for the first time.

The games, held in Bath at the end of August, saw Linda Sidgwick, who had previously acted as lead physiotherapist at previous events, make the switch into health promotion.

She gave advice on maintaining bone density to prevent injury to some of the 1,700 athletes from England, Scotland and Wales.

A specialist nurse, paramedics and a dentist were also on hand to dispense advice.

The Special Olympics GB National Games are held every four years for young people and adults with learning disabilities in Great Britain.

Competition at this summer’s games was held over three days, a shorter period than previously, and most teams chose not to bring physios for the short duration.

Although there was some physiotherapy available in the games’ health centre, it was lower key than previously.

But Ms Sidgwick said both the number of athletes, and their enthusiasm, was as high as ever.

‘It was a great games and we had a lot of interest in the health promotion tent’, she said.

‘It was really about encouraging people with a learning disability to take an interest in their own health,’ added Ms Sidgwick, who is team lead for learning disability paediatric physiotherapy and complex care at South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

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