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Kitting out for the Rio Olympics

25 July 2016

Connect's Medical Director, Graeme Wilkes, who will be joining team GB in Rio as British Olympic Association Team Doctor, tells us about his preparations for this year's Olympic Games.

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Yesterday I flew out with the GB Team to Rio, Brazil for the Olympic Games. This is my fourth major Games, having been with Team England to Delhi (2010) and Glasgow (2014) plus a magnificent experience at London Olympics (2012), where I worked as GB Hockey doctor with both the men’s and bronze medal winning ladies’ team.

Kit3My role in Rio is as a British Olympic Association (BOA) team doctor. Along with a team of 7 other doctors, we will be responsible for the whole GB team of 360 athletes as well as the support team. There will also be 12 other Team GB doctors who will attend with specific sports as I did in London with Hockey. Eighteen doctors in total will attend, as well as two nurses and a team of physiotherapists.

Myself and the GB Team have prepared by meeting for several team-building days as well as holding individual responsibilities prior to the Games. For example, I have taken responsibility for Ultrasound scanning provision. We are taking three portable scanners from the UK to augment our clinical skills and Rio organising committee will be providing services such as MRI scanner in the Village (too large for us to take our own!).

Whilst in Brazil, we will provide and co-ordinate all care for the GB team, which will include a mix of sports medicine, travel medicine and general practice. These are all areas I have extensive experience in and having attended three games to date, most issues we might see have been a part of the experience. There is always the unexpected of course – at London a broken jaw in the first game proved hugely challenging but had a happy outcome, which has been well publicised.

Kit1 In preparation for our departure the first major task was “kitting out”. Held at the NEC, Birmingham this is always an exciting day where, accompanied by “personal shopper” sizing for all the clothing and footwear, we received a first taste of what it means to be part of Team GB, with an environment of high performance and all potential needs covered. There is a lot of kit to take for a month in a variety of colours and types and co-ordination of supply. Even what to wear on any one day (there are blue days and white days!) is all part of the “team environment”.

Let’s hope the Games are as successful as London and Team GB does us all proud!

Rio 2016
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