London 2012

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) with the help of Jonathon Betser and Lynn Booth agreed to allow osteopaths to be part of the central medical team at the Olympics.

The application process started in mid-2010 and afterwards a series of interviews were carried out. Twenty-one successful applicants were invited to be part of Team Osteo, and participated in several training days leading up to the Olympics, including orientation, role-specific and venue specific training.

Polyclinics were located at three sites. The main polyclinic was a £23m 5000 square meter medical centre located in Athlete’s Village, Olympic Park. It hosted services such as dentistry, optometry, an A&E department, pharmacy, radiology, sports massage, podiatry and physical therapies were on the 1st floor with the sports medicine doctors. Other sites included Weymouth, for the sailing and windsurfing, and Eton Dorney for the rowing and canoe sprint. Osteopaths were represented at each site, with two osteopaths working each day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon and evening.

The Polyclinic opened its doors to athletes on July 16th 2012 and the first patient encounter by the Physical Therapies department was an osteopathic treatment, and a member of the IOC no less. Over the next four weeks, several hundred patients were treated by osteopaths, ranging from Athlete’s, support staff, team leaders, IOC, dignitaries, Members of Parliament, and volunteers. The busiest day in the Polyclinic in Athlete’s village saw over 700 people walk through the door (compared to around 400 in Beijing at its busiest period).

As team leader, it was Simeon Milton’s role to drive between sites leading the teams, and to ensure the smooth running of physical therapies provision at training events, and competition events.

Team Osteo quickly established itself as an expert and integral part of the Physical Therapies team, and were referred patients directly by the sports medicine doctors and physiotherapists. Unofficial reports from the LOCOG hierarchy have indicated that osteopaths played a vital role and impressive role in providing medical care and treatment to athletes and their support team. It is the best medical services in the last 18 Games according to the IOC medical commission. There were over 35,000 encounters across all sites.

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