Comment - Role models

Along with a couple of Frontline colleagues, I’ve just enjoyed a visit to the brand new polyclinic that’s sprung up in Stratford, east London, for the benefit of the thousands of Olympian and Paralympian athletes who will shortly descend on the capital.

Though the part of the building earmarked for the physiotherapists was still something of a work in progress, it’s clear that the physios have a much larger treatment area than any of the other healthcare professions on site.

They will certainly have their work cut out. We learned, for example, that there will be 50 physios on duty a day, with 25 on each shift.

What’s remarkable to me – and what a contrast it makes to the claims that some officials sought to sell tickets at sky-high prices in the run-up to the Games – is that many of the UK-based physios playing such a crucial role in London and the other centres are giving up their annual leave in order to make their contribution.

They are also paying their own expenses.

In the next issue of Frontline, you can read a profile of Lynn Booth, clinical lead for physical therapies at the Games.

We will also be throwing the spotlight on many of the physio Games Makers involved in London 2012.

I’ve been enormously impressed during my six months at Frontline by the seemingly endless energy and enthusiasm that physio staff devote to serving the wider community.

Their input is often unsung, offered in an open-hearted way and conducted outside their normal working hours.

For example, the physios I met at Headley Court in Surrey not only went about their full-time jobs with dedication, skill and humanity, but also spent many weekends and days off voluntarily supporting injured service men and women as they took part in activities in the UK and abroad.

Like many other physio staff, they also found time to keep up their own fitness levels – running regular marathons or learning to swim, for example – making them excellent ‘public health’ role models to boot.

Ian A McMillan Acting assistant editor, Frontline

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