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SPACE Clinics Fiona Begg at the World Para Athletics Championships

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Space for Para Sport

The legacy of London 2012 Paralympic Games continues for the staff at SPACE. Having had a great time working with international elite para athletes in the Athletes’ Village clinic at 2012, Fiona relished the opportunity to further that experience at the World Para Athletics Championships and was back at the Olympic Stadium in July.

She spent eight days supporting athletes from all over the world as they prepared to compete in track and field events. This involved a variety of challenges not commonly seen in day to day clinic as there are significant differences in treating athletes with impairments ranging from visual limitations to amputees, wheelchair athletes and those with cerebral palsy.

Every athlete competes in a classification determined following assessment of their disability. Extra consideration must be given to communicating and guiding those with visual problems though their musculoskeletal system is normal. Neurological conditions such as cerebral palsy, can result in the athlete having increased muscle tone or spasticity which they will often rely upon to assist them in generating power for their event. Reducing this tone too much can impair their ability to perform. Wheelchair athletes will often have reduced sensation and paralysis from a certain level in the spinal cord can result in changes to the part of the nervous system that controls blood pressure. A prolonged normally painful stimulus, such as a blister, which would be easily felt in other athletes can cause potentially life threatening conditions in those who are paralysed. Amputees can have muscle imbalances due to their amputated limbs and stretching can prove difficult in areas where there is less limb to work with. All are not things you have to consider in the average non superhuman!

Despite these factors most of the treatment options used and advice given are similar to able bodied athletes. All in all it was a great experience and Fiona’s efforts were rewarded with success in the stadium for those she treated including several World Champions and one throwing athlete winning a silver with an African record.

All our physiotherapists at SPACE have experience in treating people with disabilities so if you or someone you know is disabled and has a musculoskeletal injury we are here to help!

Written by Space Clinics

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