At SportsCare, we love when our Physiotherapists get the chance to experience new and interesting things within their field. Last month, Titled Physiotherapist Lisa White made her way across the world to Birmingham in England to support Triathlon Australia at the Commonwealth Games.
We sat down with Lisa to find out more about her experience, and what she has learned from the process.
How did the opening to support Triathlon Australia at the Commonwealth Games arise?
The opportunity arose due to some previous contract work that I had the opportunity to do with Triathlon Australia in para sport. I had worked on a test event for the Tokyo Olympics, previous camp-based work, and some local involvement with junior triathlon in the ACT. I originally met some of the triathlon staff through placements when completing my Sports Masters.
What was your experience as a Physiotherapist at the Commonwealth Games, and what services did you provide to the athletes?
It was a great experience to help the athletes be as prepared as possible for their individual races and reach their goal of representing Australia. It was interesting to be involved in the recovery and preparation, as some athletes had two races only 48 hours apart. It was also really interesting working with vision-impaired athletes who face some unique challenges.
What is working with professional/competing triathletes like?
They are one of the nicest groups of athletes I have ever worked with! They are so grateful for the support and are so resilient. They train extremely hard to reach their ultimate goals and represent our country. As a group, they have a very eclectic music taste, eat a lot of pasta and love coffee!
Are there any challenges or specific things to note that you experienced within your work at the Games?
COVID is still there in the background, and there remain some restrictions around the Games, so not quite the normal Games experience yet, but we are getting close! Travelling through Heathrow is still very interesting and there are lots of delays.
Personally, it is challenging to take prolonged time away with a young family, and I am so lucky to have the best husband, mum, and sister in the world and I couldn’t do it without them. My five-year-old has announced she is coming in my suitcase next time!
Did you learn anything through this experience that you will bring to SportsCare?
Being flexible and adaptable is so important. Working as a part of a team with athletes and support staff is vital to success, and communication with each other is key. Listening to athletes and patients to figure out the best way to support them as an individual is the most important part of what we do. Also, never assume! You can’t assume everyone knows something just because you think it.
What advice do you have for other allied health professionals looking for an experience like this?
Consider every opportunity, even if it is not in your ideal area as you never know where things may lead. Start from the ground up, juniors and developing athletes are such a rewarding group to work with and where you can help the most.
Anything else to add?
It was an awesome experience, and I feel so privileged to have had the opportunity to travel with several different sports and with such great support teams. I really enjoy working in elite sport, but I am so lucky that I am able to continue to do everything I love and see a variety of patients and figure out how to help each one every day.
I honestly can’t think of any other job I would rather do!