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Physiotherapy Manager shares his stories from the 2018 Commonwealth Games

06 April 2018

Day One - 28 March 2018

Arrived at the team hotel which is the holding camp on the south bank of the Brisbane River at midnight after a 21 hour flight, part of which I shared with the Ugandan athletics team.

After a short sleep I started to get up to speed with the athletes’ medical handovers and organisation of the physiotherapy bookings and the logistics of ice... We get through a lot of ice each day! We use it in the ice cooling units which athletes use for cryotherapy of injured body parts. Then there is the maintenance of the ice baths, which struggle to maintain the water at 10 degrees in the humidity here.

Day Two - 29 March 2018

It’s a bit quieter in the hotel today as the basketball teams left the holding camp to travel up to Townsville for their group games.

The weightlifting and powerlifting athletes also left to travel down to the Gold Coast to move into the Commonwealth Games Village

The athletics and swimming teams are still in camp and the men’s and women’s hockey squads spent a few days here to break up their pre-games training.

The athletics team had a meet tonight so they were late back for ice bath recovery.

Day Three – 30 March 2018

The Queen’s baton relay passed by the hotel today on its way down to the Gold Coast ready for the opening ceremony on Wednesday night.

It’s a very hot day today, and a few athletes had a day off so it was quiet in HQ.

A lot of the athletes went to watch Brisbane play Melbourne in the AFL at the Gabba (the major sports stadium in Brisbane) which is just round the corner from here. We can see the floodlights from HQ.

The wrestlers arrived in camp today, so the physio team gave them their post travel checks. The swimmers leave for the Village in two days’ time and they have no training tomorrow. So today the team had an Easter egg hunt around the hotel and the rookie team members had to dress up in Easter themed outfits... There were several Jesus’, one bunny and a swimmer with six hotcross buns taped to his stomach to imitate abs!

Day Four – 31 March 2018

Some of the other teams including diving arrived at the Village today, so the guys in the Village HQ are starting to get busier now.

Here in the Brisbane holding camp, everyone is well into their final training preparation. Athletics had a race meet last night, and got back late for ice bath recovery, so it was a past midnight finish.

It’s strange weather today, sunny and hot then a fleeting downpour, but it remains humid. This is playing havoc with our ice bath machines, so the early part of the day was spent making a makeshift tent!

Day Five – 1 April 2018

I got up early to watch the Anthony Joshua fight with the Team England Boxing squad which was a good result for all, including one of our colleagues, Ian Gatt – Anthony Joshua’s physio who has joined us out here to look after the Team England boxers.

The wrestlers came through for massage and treatments to get them back into shape post travel.

The hockey guys came in before heading off to the Village, and the netballers were also getting their final prep in before heading there.

Only two more days at HQ before I head to the Village.

Day Six – 2 April 2018

Most of the athletes have left the holding camp now so it’s very quiet.

Today was a day of packing up the top floor clinic and lounge and downsizing to the lower floor of the hotel. This included emptying and moving two large inflatable ice baths, 12 treatment beds and five spin bikes... Needless to say we got some strange looks in the lifts from other guests who are now arriving for the Easter holidays.

I travelled an hour south to the Village on the Gold Coast early this evening. So now the fun starts as tomorrow night it’s the opening ceremony parade, then the games begin!

Day Seven – 3 April 2018

I got up early and walked down to the food hall for breakfast, and then wandered around the Village to get my bearings.

The HQ space is a lot smaller here. We have set up in a few ground floor apartments so the bed space and prep space is limited compared to the hotel at the holding camp. The gym space is also separated from the main HQ, across the path in a marquee. So walking around the ground floor medical HQ is a warren and every turn could see an athlete being treated on a bed, lounging on a beanbag with a pressure or ice cuff on their leg with an ice machine whirring away in the background.

I had kangaroo pie for lunch, which is served out of an old surfer’s style caravan with upturned crates for picnic tables. A short walk around the corner is the smoothie bar, which serves every possible combination you can imagine. You just fill your cup with an assortment of fruit and veg and they mix it up for you.

All around the Village athletes and coaches are studying video footage on iPads and going through final prep and logistics meetings for the start of the competition tomorrow.

The Village is a surreal place, literally full of elite athletes of all shapes and sizes in peak condition prepping for their individual events. Only in a Commonwealth or Olympic Village is it normal to see a thrower walking around with a hammer shot hung over his shoulder, road cyclists in full gear and on very expensive bikes warming up on the village roads (which are closed to traffic, except the occasional golf buggy or transport bus), runners from all nations flying past (at an easy pace for them) or boxers in 25 degrees heat and 85% humidity wearing several layers and sweat tops running and sparring to make weight.

Then there are the amusing conversations you get between athletes when they are being treated on beds in medical HQ. For example one track sprinter posted a video of himself doing Olympic lifts in the gym, only to have his technique analysed and critiqued by a powerlifter on the bed next to him.

Many athletes and staff are trying on their opening ceremony outfits ready for the athletes parade in the stadium tonight. All the training and competition venues closed at 3pm today so all athletes and coaches were around. The buses pick us up at 5.50pm ready for a 8.40pm parade time for Team England with triathlete Alistair Brownlee leading us out.

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