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Physios volunteer for Special Olympics summer games

23 August 2013 - 1:09pm

Physiotherapists are getting involved in the ninth national summer games as part of the Special Olympics.

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Physiotherapist Linda Sidgwick presents medals at last year's Special Olympic National Athletics Championships

The games, which will this year be hosted at the University of Bath from 28 August until 1 September, offer more than 1,700 athletes with learning disabilities the opportunity to compete in a five-day Olympics sports competition in 12 disciplines.

Andy Heffer, director of sports and services, said that there would a dedicated physiotherapist available for the athletes who would be working at the games' medical centre alongside other medical staff.

He added that as part of the games' 'healthy athletes programme', physiotherapists would be among the health professionals offering to screen athletes to help detect underlying medical conditions.

'We have been very well served in terms of volunteers for the games - including medical professionals - and I am attributing that to the 2012 Olympics effect,' he said.

Linda Sidgwick, a team lead for learning disability paediatric physiotherapy and complex care at South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, has volunteered her services for Team GB at both the world and national games since 1999.

In previous years she has worked as the national team's lead physiotherapist, but this year she is promoting improved health outcomes for those athletes at risk of developing disuse osteoporosis.

'It is amazing experience being involved in the games but it is also really hard work and it is literally 24/7 so this year I have decided to step back a bit although I still wanted to give something to the games,' she adds.

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