Big Games… My Commonwealth games experience #GoldCoast2018

I haven’t been able to write as much as I’d like to, but this week makes it one year since I decided to write my first blog!

So I thought I’d take a look back to the 2018 Commonwealth games April 4-15th #GC2018…

Attending the games held a special excitement, not only because they were hosted on the Gold Coast in Australia but the mere prestige of the games. The Commonwealth games are dubbed “the mini Olympics” ; Top athletes from all over the commonwealth coming together to compete at a level almostt comparable to the Olympics!

Travel to Australia in itself was the first leg of the journey and while luckily for me my trip from New Zealand (where I was situated on a previous tour) was only 3.5hrs, the team from Barbados travelled over 20+ hours before arriving on the Gold Coast.

Overcoming a bit of jet lag, adjusting to a new time zone and warm temperature were the first hurdles on arriving into the village. The village was sprawling and gradually bustled with energy as athletes begun to fill in. After settling in quickly, team Barbados’ athletes began their training and soon competition. The medical team all worked around the clock to provide coverage and medical support to Barbados’ 45 athletes in multiple disciplines (swimming, cycling, triathlon, netball, boxing, table tennis, badminton, shooting, track and field).

Days typically started and ended in the team physio room, early morning taping and strapping in preparation for training/competition and ended with hands on physio and massages for the next days play. During the day, physio included match/race coverage, time in recovery rooms, polyclinic visits, ultrasound/MRI investigations or in clinic rehab. Most of my time was spent with our netball team …our single team sport. Ensuring effective recovery and optimal injury management was key to allow the ladies to perform in a tightly packed schedule of matches and alternate training and match days. It was my first time working with the ladies and in the fast paced non-contact sport which sometimes indeed became physical resulting in one athlete suffering a mild concussion.

Physios play a crucial role in assisting coaches with general player management including managing training loads and injuries. Thus, physio input is important in guiding player selection to allow for the best players to compete.

Multi sport games provide opportunities and experiences like no other! Being able to interact with medical professionals and physios from all over the world is truly priceless and definitely one of the reasons I enjoy travel and the games. The inclusion of para athletes into the village and games also made the Gold Coast experience even more special.

The Commonwealth games completed my third participation as physio in a medical team and made for a challenging but memorable one on the Gold Coast!

Countries of the Commonwealth

Africa– Botswana,Cameroon, The Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Swaziland, Uganda,United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia

Americas– Antigua and Barbuda, Anguilla, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Canada, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago

Asia– Bangladesh, Brunei Darussalam, India, Malaysia, Pakistan, Singapore, Sri Lanka

Europe– Cyprus, Malta, United Kingdom

Pacific-Australia, Fiji Islands ,Kiribati, Nauru, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu


Goal setting…writing down your goals

It’s the start of yet another year and as is customary many people decide on “New Years resolutions” or “New Year goals”…but how many persons stick to them after a couple of months? Better yet, how many of you have taken the time to actually write your goals down on paper?

Studies have been found to show that persons who write down their goals are more likely to achieve them. Writing your goals down gives you a clear visual picture of those things you want to achieve and helps to act as a clear reminder of those things you so eagerly wished to work towards at the start of the year.

Now, goals need not only be written at the start of a year and can be broken down into both short term and long term.

When setting goals it’s important to make them specific, realistic, measurable and time bound.

In rehab we often sit with our patients/athletes to discuss realistic goals both in the short term and long term to ensure that all parties are aligned and working towards a common goal(s). These short and long term goals should always have a time frame attached, that way plotting the journey to achieving them along a specific timeline keeps you focused on the task at hand and gives feedback on progress if specific targets are not met. While hitting every target on time may not always happen as planned, imagine if you had no physical note or stipulated timeframe to work within? You’d have no idea if you were hitting a target or not.

Goal setting is a very useful and powerful process that can be applied to almost any task in life. Whether it be physical, career, family, education, attitude, service or personal, spending some quiet time reflecting on what you want to do and then taking steps to achieve it can boost your motivation, self confidence, and bring self fulfillment after achievement.

Try writing your goals this year-make sure to enjoy the journey working towards them and surely the rewards will come!

Happy goal setting!

Physio M

Being a woman in sport…the sexism Thing and more+

While I’m happy to see the progress and changes happening within sport for women for example…

*Finland- women’s and men’s football teams being paid equally, 

*Tennis- both men and women receiving equal prize money at 2017 US Open,

 *Rio 2016 Olympics- approximately 45% women participating *highest percentage to date*

…women in all aspects of sport still face many other issues uncommon to men…

In an example more recently, apparently women aren’t expected to be knowledgeable on sports as we saw NFL player Cam Newton laugh to a female reporter saying “it’s funny to hear a female talk about routes”. What was so funny about that? Why is it funny that a female reporter doing her job isn’t well versed about the game she’s covering? Why? Because she’s female… for me..if persons asking for a massage after hearing you are a Physio isn’t bad enough… hearing ” o you’re the physio working today? Then you must have a good understanding of anatomy..and you know some people have larger body parts than others..” -_- orr “feeling much better after seeing you” or “don’t blush baby” alll comments that wouldn’t be dared uttered to males in the same job. 

Why is it necessary to comment on a females’ looks or attire instead of focusing on the job at hand or the way in which the job is being carried out. Females in sport are still objectified on and off the field be it athletes, journalists, physiotherapists, administrators, coaches…

Women in sport face many issues daily just because of their gender but two of the most annoying I’ve experienced are sexual harassment and sexism. 

Whether it be behind the desk in sports administration, on the field or in the dressing room women working in sport battle with these issues daily. Some appear to have better coping mechanisms than others but some fall victim…in worst cases imposed by coaches themselves. 

Many females in sport sadly experience sexual abuse or harassment in one way or another. 

On another note, women train hard just like men do however still don’t seem to get the same respect men do playing the same sport. 

Times are changing indeed however, women’s sports are still thought to be less entertaining, less skillful, and less physical and still receive less prime time coverage to name a few. 

We are making progress but there’s still more room for more women to be involved in all aspects of sport and to be seen as leaders and experts regardless of gender. 

There’s no time like the present and we need to continue to engage and encourage young girls and women to pursue their dreams in all arenas of sport.

Giving less and less…

Reading this blog a bit late since it was posted but Adam Meakins always seems to hit the nail on the head. As he rightfully said we physios can only do so much to help our patients who want to be helped into healthy bodies and minds. Sometimes we forget to look after our own wellbeing. Thanks for discussing Adam

The Sports Physio

I want to talk about something that’s a little awkward to talk about. It’s something I’ve been feeling more and more. It’s something that affects EVERY healthcare professional, and it’s something we need to talk more about. I want to talk about compassion fatigue, empathy exhaustion, professional burnout, or as I like to call it, giving less and less of a fuck!

All healthcare professionals whether working in the private or public sectors are challenged with providing patient-centered care in an efficient and effective manner. They have to do this whilst trying to embrace and implement evidence-based practice, meeting productivity goals and targets, maintaining high professional and personal standards, and usually with limited support or resources.

These daily challenges are a constant struggle for many clinicians that can and do lead to increasing levels of stress and frustration, and that can and do affect their physical and mental health, and…

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Biggest travel lesson..How to stay sane?… Don’t sweat the small stuff 

Last post focused on some negatives..this one I’ll touch on some of the good lessons travelling and sport has taught me. I’m naturally “that extra” person who’s a little more hyper than usual, worries about the little and big things and super picky that things are in place and organized. (Lil Miss Perfect) Well… forget that when traveling, things almost never go to plan and fussing NEVER helps the situation. My 1st and biggest life lesson I learnt from traveling was- Don’t sweat it, stay calm and let things be. Staying in control of the few things you actually have control of and leaving the rest becomes so so important (otherwise I’d prolly be mad by now). But truthfully, things always work out eventually. 

Next up travelling and sport affords many the opportunity to meet new people experience different cultures and keeps you open to the many different ways in which people may use to achieve the same task or even more surprisingly how similar things could be. 

There are a few things that can bring people of all walks of life food.. but sport…sport has the power to change the world like no other -Nelson Mandela 

I’ve seen how sport can teach young and old valuable life lessons, build character, awaken souls to transform individuals into passionate beings, teach respect for self, things and others and take people places they only once dreamed of. The list could go on and on…sport isn’t always about winning or losing has a way of developing minds and creating resilient, courageous people who are confident and sure of themselves. 

Engaging in sport can teach many lessons of life that can’t be taught in any other way…

“Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire, it has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand. Sport can create hope where there once was only despair.” 

– Nelson Mandela 

Travelling Physio… Glamour proof

I’ve never written a blog before but it’s been on my mind recently that maybe I should try it.
I felt like I wanted and needed to share a bit of my experience as a travelling Physio.
Most times people see travelling as glamorous and exciting and people always say “oh I’d love to have your job” or “you’re so lucky” but they don’t quite see the not so glamorous side of travelling for sport.
Travelling with sports teams is more demanding than meets the eye. It involves early days, late nights, long flights, sucky plane food and commuting to and from sports venues, travel woes of customs departments, overlays and sometimes lost baggage. Oh and how could I forget..bad hair days andd goodbye to weekend freedom 😖Feeling tired and worn out is common since most days include marching up and down behind athletes in hot or cold conditions.
Most importantly however is the fact that while yes, sport does allow you to travel the world, most time is spent at either the hotel or sporting venue. The odd off day is usually spent resting or with a couple rushed hours of sightseeing.. definitely not what persons would expect when learning of travel to uncommon places.
I’ll also take this time to discuss the members of the support team who an athlete or team usually travel with. Player(s), coach(es), manager, physio, trainer, and with larger teams, massage therapist, doctor, video analyst, psychologist.
Usually with smaller teams the team will comprise of players, coaches, a manager and frequently considered “Jack of all trades” …Physio. Now while each team member has a valuable and specific role to play in ensuring the athlete(s) perform at their best, it almost alwaysss seems like the physio’s work is around the clock aka 24/7 aka nuh rest. From early morning taping and strapping prep to throughout game/match coverage to post match recovery and sometimes even throwing in a bit of one on one. Lending a listening ear to an athlete who needs to vent or just someone to talk to.
The Physio’s work never seems to end and definitely takes one with a good spirit and upbeat personality. Nevertheless I love what I do and wouldn’t change it for the world. Physical therapy is one hell of job but a heck more fulfilling.

Ps. Below photo was taken in less than 2mins hoping out of a taxi on-route to the airport.