Amanda Peck, one of our Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist’s, was behind the scenes at the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games, providing physiotherapy to the performers. She was one of a team of physiotherapists behind the scenes ensuring that injuries didn’t spoil the show. Amanda was really proud of being part of such a spectacular event which captured the spirit of Great Britain. Below Amanda provides us with an account of her time at the stadium…
Work began 3 months ago; with many cold days spent in Dagenham on an open air site, ensuring that injured performers were treated quickly, enabling them to join back in with rehearsals as soon as possible. As the big night got closer the volume of injuries started to dramatically increase. The physiotherapy shifts got dramatically longer, up to 17 hours one occasion, which really tested my stamina and endurance. I cannot even begin to imagine how many ice packs I gave out, or how many ankles I taped. I can remember frequently ordering additional tape but the team still managed to run out an hour before show time.
Despite the tiredness and sore thumbs, the experience was amazing! The determination of the volunteer cast to succeed was inspirational. A number of volunteer’s begged us to allow them to continue, despite of their injuries being too severe for them to be declared medically fit to perform. Two volunteers with partially torn Achilles, in the NHS section were adamant they would perform with strapping, despite my advice to the contrary.
On the night, I eagerly watched the show from the side lines and kept everything crossed, that all my patients would be able to deliver on the night, without injury/ flare up. It was an anxious few hours – but well worth it as the show was spectacular! Once the show had finished, I was lucky enough to meet all of the athletes on their parade into the stadium, including Usain Bolt and the GB team. I also had the opportunity to speak to the USA and Australian Physiotherapy team, which was inspiring in itself. I am now enjoying a 10 day break before it all starts again, as I have now been asked to help out in the Closing Ceremony and the Paralympic Ceremonies’.
For now here are some photos of my experience,