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Physios take a firm line with feisty Games’ warriors

15 August 2013 - 3:23pm

Physiotherapists volunteering for the World Police and Fire Games, held in Belfast, from 1-10 August, experienced interesting professional challenges as they worked with ‘feisty’ athletes determined not to be beaten by their injuries – or each other.


Gillian Clarke treats 79-year-old half-marathon competitor Daphne Pugh

‘Even for physios used to working with elite athletes and who volunteered in the Olympics, it was a very different event’ said Gillian Clarke from the Kingsbridge Physio Medical Team, who coordinated the volunteers for the Games.

Unlike with elite athletes who are used to listening to physiotherapists so as not to jeopardise their chances in other competitions, at times it was quite difficult to get them off the pitch, she said.

‘One guy ended up with a hernia because he insisted on carrying on. There was a real weekend warrior approach’, she said.

Professionally, the physios had to be firm and confident in their clinical reasoning, often to people with limited English. ‘It was more of a clinical challenge than for something really structured like the Olympics.’

The 40 physios, who were first onto the pitch, dealt with a couple of hundred injuries, including a few breaks. ‘But thankfully there was nothing too horrendous,’ said Ms Clarke.

‘We were very busy, but overall it went really well. For me it was lovely to experience different sports,’ she added.

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