18 Nov 2011
Next year, sport’s greatest show on earth gets underway. The XXIV Olympic Games, hosted in London, will feature athletes from all over the globe in an exhibition of elite sporting action. For chiropractic, the Games will also provide a unique opportunity to showcase the skills and expertise of the profession. For the first time, the official Olympic medical team will include chiropractors, working in the event’s multidisciplinary polyclinic located in the Olympic village and at two smaller venues across the UK.
ECU chiropractor Tom Greenway is the man responsible for bringing chiropractic to London 2012. Tom, a 1990 AECC graduate, is a past President of the British Chiropractic Sports Council and is senior member of FICS. A veteran of 3 previous Olympic Games, Tom says when the 2012 venue was announced, he felt a tremendous sense of obligation to ensure that chiropractic was well represented.
He says, “The feelings I had are the most difficult thing to describe, because I was more shocked than happy and then I felt a tremendous sense of obligation. I think it was because I knew that if anyone was in a position to get chiropractic involved in some capacity the onus was on me to do it.”
Tom immediately started to work with key stakeholders, including the UK regulator, the General Chiropractic Council, and attended a meeting of LOCOG (London Organising Committee, Olympic Games). Countless meetings have followed and Tom has generated a large number of supporters along the way who, through his persistence and determination, have recognised the potential importance of chiropractic’s contribution to the medical team.
Tom is excited about what lies in store. “At the Olympics in 2012 we will be able to show them exactly what we can do, how well we can do it and how effectively that can dovetail with physiotherapy, osteopathy and massage. The networks and the doors that experience could open for the profession remain to be seen but the possibilities are enormous and that is one of the things I am most excited about. We will have 74 days to show the world of sport how great and how effective a chiropractic approach is in the medical team.”
There will be a team of 18 chiropractors working at the Olympics and Paralympic Games, selected for their experience and expertise in working with elite athletes. Each has gone through a detailed application and interview process and will volunteer their services alongside other medical services at the polyclinic, similar to a small hospital. Throughout the Games, it will be open 24 hours a day and as well as chiropractic will offer everything from dentistry to optical care, diagnostic imaging and, of course, sports medicine.
Tom is convinced that the impact of chiropractic involvement will extend long after the Games are over. “I hope that the integration we all experience at the Games will make us far more confident and aware of what exactly we need to do to get us more involved in mainstream healthcare provision in the UK. I think initially that it will affect those chiropractors wanting to work in sport and later I hope those experiences will filter through to those chiropractors that have no interest in sport at all, ultimately helping the profession to become truly integrated.”
To find out more about London 2012, visit www.london2012.com.