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John Davies on working at the Paralympics

5 Sep, 12 | by BMJ

I never thought that they would ask me back to help out during the Paralympics. But the call came, and it was for Eton Manor and the wheelchair tennis events. So, I’ll be working at a completely different type of event, in a different venue. But it is still in the Olympic Park—the core of the games!

Like everyone, except those lucky enough to be at the stadium, I watched the opening ceremony on TV, and from now on, I’ll not call anyone disabled. Superhuman, more like, and with Bladerunner Pistorius in both games, what some superhumans are capable of doing will become more common in the future, with multiple ethical and definition problems to over come. One of my own colleagues is superhuman, in that they are a doctor who practices from a wheelchair, as well as playing tennis to a high standard, and they are working as crowd doctor. I was initially asked to be a crowd doctor at the Paralympics, and turned it down, keen as I was to take part, as I just don’t have the skills for the job that my superhuman colleague has. more…

John Pring: On the Paralympics, DLAs, and PIPs

30 Aug, 12 | by BMJ

These are strange, mixed-up days to be a disabled person.

Newspapers are littered as never before with stories of the high achieving disabled athletes set to take part in the London 2012 Paralympics, and of a public desperate for tickets to watch them perform.

Meanwhile, many of those same national newspapers have fuelled disability hate crime by running stories of disabled people “ripping off the benefits system,” describing them as “shameless shirkers,” and “parasites,” while the government prepares to slice 20 per cent from spending on disability living allowance (DLA). more…

Edmund Jessop on the selling off of school playing fields and encouraging young people into sport

29 Aug, 12 | by BMJ

Our relationship with physical activity starts at such a young age that it is vital that we all—schools, families, society—play our part to get it right for children and young people. The recent furore over the selling off of school playing fields, at a time when Olympians were delighting the nation with their elite achievements, has brought the issue to the fore. What does it say about our society and our prospects for future sporting success if children don’t have the space they need to play competitive sport? more…

Sophie Reshamwalla: Move aside Doc Martin—a day in the life of a real village doctor

17 Aug, 12 | by BMJ

I sit and type this in my lounge, with the men’s Olympic football final on the TV in the background (Mexico are 1-0 up against Brazil can you believe), and look forward to my final shift as an emergency care doctor at the London 2012 Olympics starting early the next day at 6.30am.

I reflect back to my first shift a few weeks ago and smile at how clueless I felt then. It was the day after Danny Boyle’s exhilarating and awe-inspiring opening ceremony, and I had a spring in my step despite waking at 4.30am to arrive on time. I crammed in some reading on the train and took the first of many deep breaths. I eventually arrived at Stratford International station along with the hoards of other bewildered purple and beige clad volunteers and felt my heart sink. The similarity of this scene to a typical first day at a new hospital (or, even worse, a first day at school) was uncanny and the unwelcome feelings of fear, defeat, and insecurity took over. more…

Domhnall MacAuley: Some Olympic reflections

17 Aug, 12 | by BMJ

Domhnall MacauleyIt’s the smile that gives it away. The Olympic smile. Couch potatoes, academic nerds, fashionistas, computer geeks, and sporty types united. All bewitched. With life on hold for the last two weeks, its now back to the real world, but almost everyone one seems touched by a little bit of Olympic magic. So, what about the Olympic legacy—a few random reflections. more…

Julian Sheather: Doping in sport—thoughts on another Olympic legacy

16 Aug, 12 | by BMJ

Every once in a while I dust off my old road bike and head out onto the North Downs to take in a few hills. Panting up a short sharp rise is about as close to elite athleticism as I get—and it is not unusual for me to get off and push. It is from these foothills that I look across to the distant Himalaya of Olympic sports. Draw a veil over the grubby politics, forget about the ticketing problems—I only got three in the end, for the men’s volleyball—inure yourself to the corporate takeover: the heart of the matter surely lies in that look upwards—here is a kind of human excellence at its fullest reach, perhaps the one excellence that in these egalitarian times we are permitted to contemplate without misgiving. This is what a human being at full stretch is capable of. more…

Toby Pitts-Tucker: Reining in the euphoria—the public health legacy of London 2012

15 Aug, 12 | by BMJ

The success of the London 2012 Olympics rather took the country by surprise. Not only did team GB amass an unprecedented pile of gleaming gold, silver, and bronze, but also the whole event was remarkably smooth. Construction was delivered on time and on budget, the opening and closing ceremonies were a huge triumph and everyone seemed to have a pretty good time. Even the dour Transport for London email updates I signed up to, which at the start of the games seemed to herald transport apocalypse across London, surprised themselves in reporting that everything had gone to plan. more…

Domhnall MacAuley: Olympic fatigue syndrome

9 Aug, 12 | by BMJ Group

Domhnall MacauleySquare eyes and pressure sores. Emotional exhaustion. Sensory overload. These Olympics are overwhelming. I need a rest. But, expecting symptoms of withdrawal in a few days. Thank goodness we haven’t had much input from doctors.  Steve Peters, a psychiatrist who has been involved with international cycling for many years, did appear to tell us about psychological preparation and support and he was great. But the only docs are athletes-  I recognised Tim Brabants from canoeing, and Joanne Cuddihy, an Irish runner, but I know there were others.  And, wonderful to see Sir Roger Bannister sitting with Seb Coe during the 1500m.


John Davies: “Sexist and ridiculous” synchronised swimming

9 Aug, 12 | by BMJ Group

At the Aquatics, the synchronized swimming events have started. I will get myself into trouble with what I say about these, but to me they are sexist, ridiculous and lacking in any of the artistic merit they strive for. But they are extraordinary displays of athleticism! more…

John Davies: An Olympics day off with Leonardo da Vinci

6 Aug, 12 | by BMJ Group

It’s my first day off from the Games today, as all the race swimming has finished, with diving and synchronised swimming still to go.   With a major Olympic day in store – men’s’ tennis and 100 metres, finn class sailing, Pistorius and the women’s marathon and 400 metres, I went for a bit of Olympic culture. The Queen’s Gallery at Buckingham Palace is showing the anatomical drawings of Leonardo da Vinci, the first public exhibition of these extraordinary works.  And what a revelation. more…

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