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Rehabilitation for olympians

BMJ 2004; 329 doi: (Published 01 July 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;329:0407298
  1. Siddartha Dutta, final year medical student1
  1. 1St George's Hospital Medical School, London

For athletes, an injury can make or break a career. But help is at hand. The Olympic Medical Institute in London aims to get injured athletes back on track, as Siddartha Dutta explains

One extra day in a year may not mean much to most of us, but to Olympic athletes a single day can mean the difference between competing for a gold medal and nursing an injury on the sidelines. It may be serendipitous that leap years coincide with the Olympic Games to give athletes more time to train, but the Olympic Medical Institute (OMI) does not like to leave things to luck. The OMI is the focal point of medical care for Britain's Olympians and is hoping that its unique set up and attention to detail will mean that luck will not be needed to bring home the medals.

Based out of Northwick Park Hospital in London, the institute is a “one stop shop” for athletes to repair as well as prepare themselves for the upcoming Olympics and other sporting tournaments. The seven bedded facility not only offers many medical services, including diagnostic testing, injury management, and fitness training, but also such things as nutritional guidance and psychological counselling. It is this holistic meticulous attitude which makes the institute the only one of its kind in the United Kingdom.

Caryl Becker, rehabilitation manager and physiotherapist at the centres however, does not believe that the OMI is a world apart from most places. “It's not unique, it's not something that nobody else knows about. It's the fact that it is done as a team. We don't do anything different here than anywhere else. The physio is the same and everything is the same as you would get anywhere else. The difference is the environment in which it takes place. …

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