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Mel Davis, one of our in-house Chiropractors, based in Hove, was good enough to be picked to be one of the chiropractors, working on top sports athletes in Turkey. Read below her blog on the event.
This August the European Masters Athletics Championships was held in Izmir, Turkey, so myself (Meriel Davis), Iain Crombie and Grant Pretorius packed our portable benches with equipment and headed along with the GB athletes to one of Turkey’s lesser known cities.  Chiropractors have been working at both national and international Masters Championships since 2001 as past of the BMMS (British Masters Medical Service) ensuring the athletes are at their physical optimum and if any injuries occur they can be swiftly dealt with. We were sure we would see plenty of low back pain, tennis elbow, shin splints, plantar fascists, ITB problems and knee complaints, but as chiropractors we are always prepared for these.
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The championships were held at the Attaturk Stadium on he outskirts of Izmir…a 70,000 seat stadium normally used for football matches however this time it was for athletics. The stadium was actually built for the 2008 Olympic bid which was subsequently awarded to Beijing. The temperature was anywhere between 35-40 degrees during the day but thankfully the set up area was in the shade with a great view of the track. Not only were we easily accessible for the athletes, we could also watch the fruits of their (and our) labours. This was especially great when the finals were on as we could get involved fully with the atmosphere of the championships and feel like we were a part of the magic!
The working day started around 8.30am when we would treat the first athlete. Anything from an achilles issue (very common in track athletes) to a hamstring/groin strain to a rotator cuff tendonitis. As Chiropractors have been involved with the BMMS for many years, all athletes knew regardless of any aches and pains they could and would come in for a pre-race check up to ensure their body was working at it’s optimum.
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Due to the high temperatures, the track and field events would start early morning then stop around 11am. Events would start again around 3.30pm and could run as late as 9.30pm. This was to avoid the mid day heat and sun. Consequently we were busy in the mornings and mid afternoon onwards but had a fairly relaxed lunch break.  It was pretty much this format for the 10 day championships with some days started earlier and finished later. Our availability was organized around the timing of the events to ensure there was maximum availability of Chiropractic to the athletes.
Although we worked hard in high temperatures we had a great time. All 3 of us had different Chiropractic philosophies so we regularly had healthy debates about the way we viewed the profession. As expected, there were some similarities between us technique wise however there was also enough of a difference to get a taste of each other’s different techniques. This increased the scope of our care for the athletes and was also great CPD (continuing professional development- a requirement for all chiros) for us. Some athletes who were newer to the championships had never experienced Chiropractic before and a few had their reservations. However we were able to turn that around during our stay as they could feel improvement in their function as well as their performance.
Izmir was a fantastic experience for everyone. For us Chiropractors the main highlights were seeing athletes that we’d worked with regularly throughout the championships break a record, get a PB, or get gold, silver or bronze! The athletes were very grateful for us but what we couldn’t convey enough was our gratitude for being involved in such a fantastic event.
Meriel Davis DC MChiro BSc(physiol)