Olympic vision

The London Olympics and Paralympics present an unmissable opportunity for the whole profession to promote lifelong exercise and healthy living.

Louise Hunt looks at how this year’s Congress will support members in making the most of the legacy ‘Preparing for the 2012 Olympics and beyond’ is the aptly titled Congress theme intended to encourage all physiotherapists – sporty or not – to make the most of the time when physical fitness is likely to be in the news. In its widest context, the theme encompasses many of the messages of the public health and well-being agenda, set against the backdrop of the Olympics and Paralympics and the work that will be taking place across the UK to encourage people to participate in sports and exercise. The aim is also to give members interested in a career in sports physio – including those with their sights set on becoming the Olympics physios of the future – a clear idea of the pathways from the grassroots to the major events. Public health ‘The theme will show physiotherapists the contribution they can make to public health and well-being at a time when people are more aware of sports,’ says Ian Horsley, CSP Olympics co-theme lead and north west regional lead physiotherapist at the English Institute of Sport. ‘It is important that the good work now going on, such as the government’s Change for Life and the CSP’s Move for Health campaigns, isn’t forgotten after the games. ‘I hope the theme will help physiotherapists to inform patients that increasing fitness doesn’t have to mean doing a competitive sport. It could be working on an allotment or ballroom dancing. The idea is that you can take some of the principles shown at Congress and apply them to your practice,’ says Mr Horsley. Caryl Becker, chief physiotherapist at the British Olympic Association and Olympics Medical Institute rehabilitation manager, endorses the theme’s timeliness.

Promoting physiotherapy

‘With the greatest sporting event in the world coming to our shores in a few years, it would be remiss of us as a profession to not investigate how the London 2012 Olympics could be used to help promote physiotherapists not only working in sport but across the board,’ she says. ‘The groundswell created by such an event should be used to create a healthier nation. By holding an Olympics themed session at Congress we can begin to discuss how we may help and influence this outcome. We owe it to those who will follow us to not let this opportunity pass us by,’ Ms Becker adds. At Congress Ms Becker will be talking about the run-up to the 2012 games and the role of physiotherapists in supporting the Team GB athletes and how physios can take part. Continuing this discussion on physiotherapy involvement in the games, Nicki Phillips, who was chief physiotherapist at the 2008 Beijing Games and is vice president of the Association for Chartered Physiotherapists in Sports Medicine, will explain the routes physiotherapists can take into elite sports through the ACPSM CPD pathway. This will include information on how members can get involved in 2012 as volunteers in London or with regional holding camps around the country.

Developing the right skills

‘ACPSM has already been working towards developing courses in the key skills needed to work in sport so that when the London Organising Committee open their books for volunteer registration there will be enough people with the skills and experience for the around 600 physio-specific volunteer roles likely to be needed in 2012,’ says Ms Phillips. ‘We are also aiming to support those current students or very new graduates who may not have acquired sufficient experience to be physiotherapy volunteers for the host country support service but could be involved in other, related capacities,’ Ms Phillips adds. ‘The legacy from this will be that we will consequently have a healthy growing number of enthusiastic professionals ready to provide volunteer support for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.’

Keynote speech

The keynote address will be given by Conor O’Shea, national director of the English Institute of Sport, who will provide an overview of what the UK is doing to prepare for 2012. Also present to share his Olympics experience will be Philip Burt, head physiotherapist of British Cycling, who played a significant role in the dazzling medal tally of the Team GB cycling team in Beijing. And, of course, the Founders Lecture is particularly applicable to this theme, as it will be given by five-times gold medalist Sir Steve Redgrave. Keith Gilbert, director for disability, sport and health at the University of East London school of health and science, will be discussing the importance of the Paralympics. And experts in sports medicine will be giving a range of talks, which Mr Horsley believes will help to give physios ideas on how to apply the public health message in their own practice. Wendy Martinson, a dietician and consultant sports nutritionist to the BOA, will give an overview on how good nutritional practices can cut the risk of injury by reducing fatigue levels and improving recovery after training, while Cathy Speed, BOA consultant in rheumatology, sports and injury medicine, will talk about the advanced management of soft tissue injuries. Marco Cardinale, BOA head of sports science and research, will focus on monitoring training and rehabilitation progressions. Book your place at www.cspcongress.co.uk or use the booking form on page 27 of this issue

Linking up through Facebook

Are you curious about who your fellow Congress attendees are? And do you have opinions about this year’s programme and themes? If so, why not join our Congress Facebook page and start talking. More than a third of attendees have already joined up to this ideal forum for making plans for their stay in Liverpool, organising car shares, or linking up with the CSP to tell us what they think of the event. All you need to do is search the group pages of www.facebook.com for ‘Chartered Society of Physiotherapy Congress 2009’; once you’ve found us, join up. If you don’t have a personal Facebook profile at the moment, then this could be the ideal reason to start one. The page gives you all the latest news of this year’s special offers and programme developments as they appear, as well as providing background information on the event, venue and location. It also provides a discussion board for your use, so why not sign up and start getting involved?


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Louise Hunt

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