Stretch at the 2012 Olympic Games

The Games are well under way and the ceremony succeeded in capturing the nation. Amanda, Physiotherapist at Stretch Physiotherapy and Pilates, was behind the scenes providing physiotherapy to the performers of the ceremony and provides us with an account of her time at the stadium.

The work began 3 months ago with many cold days spent in Dagenham on an open air site ensuring performers were treated quickly and able to join back in with rehearsals as soon as possible. As the big night got closer the volume of injuries started to dramatically increase and the physiotherapy shifts got dramatically longer – upto 17 hours 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, although I can remember frequently ordering additional tape and 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 and the dedication to their new found friends and colleagues was exceptional and inspirational. Patients were begging for us to allow them to continue and the heart break of those that were unfortunately declared not medically fit was awful. Two patients with partially torn Achilles in the NHS section were adamant they would perform with strapping despite my advice to the contrary – patients ignoring my advice was extremely frustrating but something that I quickly had to adjust to and remember how much of a big chance this was for them just as it was for me. On the night I was eagerly watching the show from the side lines and keeping everything crossed that all of my patients managed to deliver on the night – it was an anxious few hours – but well worth it, once the show had finished I was then lucky enough to meet all of the athletes on their parade into the stadium including Usain Bolt and the whole GB team, followed by Mohammed Ali. I also gained the opportunity to speak to the team physiotherapists of the USA and Australia which were a large fountain of knowledge and inspiration for my own career development.

I am now enjoying a 10 day break before it all starts again for the Closing ceremony and the Paralympic Ceremonies’. But for now here some photos of my time there: