What a year it has been thus so far, I have been fortunate to integrate my passion for sports, physiotherapy, and international travelling into one package multiple times this year. None of which would be possible without supportive mentors and colleagues.
I’ve just returned from Donetsk, Ukraine working with talented athletes, coaches, and medical staff from Athletics Canada. Canada showcased 50+ of their top youth athletes on the world stage at the IAAF World Youth Championships (Olympic gold medalist Usian Bolt competed at this event in 2003). The event was action packed with sprinters, runners, hurdlers, throwers, and jumpers. I’ve lost count how many records were broken, but more impressive was the countless personal best records that were achieved by the Canadian athletes.
The Integrated Systems Model (ISM) (Lee & Lee) (Lee D 2011 The Pelvic Girdle, Elsevier) proved to be an effective model to help the athletes perform with maximum efficiency and load transfer. What I also really enjoyed was the collaboration and discussions with the coaches to understand how we both look at the same problems with different lenses to best help the athletes perform.
Each trip presents itself with unique experiences and challenges, here are some tips I’ve picked up along the way and also acquired from my sport physio mentors:
1) Make sure you know your environment and pack for the unexpected – the temperature in the Ukraine was hot! Most athletes weren’t use to training or competing in 35°C weather, luckily we brought enough electrolytes to last the competition. Also, plan to bring energy bars, snacks, etc – food is not always accessible.
2) Try to make use of the space in your physio table. I recommend packing as much equipment as you can inbetween the table. You will be surprised that you can avoid paying and lugging around one extra piece of luggage.
3) Be prepare to travel through multiple time zones – start prepping your body for the changes from the beginning of your trip. Change the time on your watch as early as you can, nap on the flights at the appropriate times, eat on a regular basis, try to get as much sunlight exposure when you arrive, and try to do a light cardiovascular workout when you arrive.
Tony Gui BHkin, MPT, CAFCI