It’s no wonder they call the Commonwealth Games ‘The Friendly Games’, because they truly are. As the Chief Medical Officer for the Gold Coast games in 2018, I had the privilege of working with a multidisciplinary team of highly trained doctors, physiotherapists, nurses, podiatrists, optometrists and radiologists. It’s an experience I will never forget. It all began in 2014 when I was appointed to the role, four years out from the event. I have always been passionate about playing sport and sports medicine. As a GP, it complements a large part of what I already do. I have been involved in providing and organising sports medicine coverage since 1994, including volunteering at the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000 and the Melbourne Commonwealth Games in 2006. My role this time around became steadily busier leading up to the games and involved recruiting and rostering a team of 1400 volunteer clinicians to work in the polyclinic based in the games village, which operated for 23 days and provided up to 75% of the healthcare needed by the 4200 athletes living there. From Coolangatta to Cairns we provided a medical team at every competition venue, including 11 training venues. But what many people don’t know is that we also provided medical care for more than 2000 team officials in the games village and to spectators at every venue. I’m always blown away by the spirit and camaraderie that we see during game times from the medical team we put together. Every clinician pitches in and works so collaboratively to ensure the athletes are at their physical peak at the right time to perform. There’s something incredibly inspiring about being around such highly-motivated people, and I don’t just mean the athletes. The energy at the Commonwealth Games is incredibly collegiate, with athletes from 71 countries both large and small — everyone has the chance to compete. It’s also really rewarding to be able to embed elite sports physios in teams that have come from countries which have limited resources for the duration of the games. The other thing I love about these games, in particular, is that they also include the para-sports program — some 300 athletes competing in seven sports within the same program. The highlight for me this year, just as in Melbourne in 2006, was watching the Australian swimming team on three of the finals nights. They were performing incredibly well, the venue was packed and it was exhilarating to see the final two events, the medley relays, both won in the last stroke.

Dr Anita Green
Brisbane, QLD