An Amazing Experience: The Paralympic Opening Ceremony

The excitement returned to the Olympic Village with the Paralympic Games Opening Ceremony. Once again the medical team were on site to aid any cast with problems they were experiencing and it was yet again another fantastic experience from which I took away so much. The performers were so inspiring, their agility in the aerial work was fascinating from a biomechanical point as their centre of gravity and symmetry had been displaced due to amputations yet they performed everything with perfect lines and balance. The human body has fascinated me for many years and this ability to adapt continues to fuel my fascination.

The weather brought a new risk factor to the performers with such cold and wet rehearsals there were many slips and muscle strains. The variety of the case load I have been dealing with has been interesting to analyse as each ceremony seems to bring a new cluster of injuries and this time it was backs!

One inspiring patient was a 71 year old lady who advised me she was a marathon runner, with her last marathon being this April with a time of 4 hours and 5 minutes. It just shows how much is possible if you stay fit and active and I think that is the message I took away from this ceremony. It is not purely about the rehabilitation side that physiotherapy can assist with but also promote activity as part of daily life and as part of routine rather than just when people are in pain, especially for those working in sedentary jobs. Maintaining muscle flexibility, strength and cardiac fitness not only improves health but also enables the body to recover from injury quicker allowing faster return to sports or daily function. Education of patients in respect of this is something I will definitely put greater emphasis on in my practice from now on.

Activities such as swimming, pilates and yoga are kinder on the joints for those who are experiencing pain during exercise yet are excellent for muscle flexibility and strength. It is with great enthusiasm and excitement that I now watch the games, to continue to see the determination and dedication of the Paralympians, before the final part of my Olympic journey at the
Closing Ceremony next weekend.