By Amy Decker, Physiotherapist, Langwarrin Sports Medicine Group
From 15,000 applicants applying for 1,400 medical positions including Doctors, podiatrists, nurses and dentists it was an honour being selected as a Physiotherapist at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
Like many within our profession, working with elite athletes is a career goal, hence there was no second-guessing if I would apply over a year ago to be selected.
When asked what was the one highlight of my experience, it was difficult to answer. I have created many new friendships in volunteers and staff, watched the best of the best train and race but there were two moments that stood out.
Firstly, an Olympic athlete with a chronic low back stress fracture. Unfortunately she lived in a country less fortunate in medical treatment and had been suffering with low back pain for over six months, continuing to train at a high intensity. Upon coming to the games she was diagnosed through an MRI with a stress fracture and was advised to rest. Her coach, however, wouldn’t take this for an answer arguing they had invested money and time into her competing which seemed more important than her health.
The athlete received daily treatment to ensure her pain was managed liaising with the sports doctor and physiotherapists as she went on to compete. Knowing I helped assist in reducing an individual’s pain and resulting in an increase in performance makes your job worthwhile.
On a complete different note, I was lucky to assist the para athletes aswell. Listening to their stories definitely pulls your heartstrings. Coming from an up bringing that included second hand clothes, no supportive wear, no shoes, no coach and training for javelin with sticks to earning yourself a medal at the Commonwealth Games is a story I will remember.
After sustaining such a life changing injury and continuing to be the best you can, inspired me both personally and professionally. Success doesn’t come from what you can do, it comes from overcoming the things you once thought you were unable to do.
Would I volunteer a gain, heck yes I would! It was both an invaluable and memorable experience that I would recommend being a part of and I am thankful for being selected.