This past weekend of February, the 25 – 28th, the BC Winter Games were held in beautiful Penticton, BC. New Leaf Physiotherapy was there to volunteer for the games to help keep the athletes in the game. As you have read on previous posts, volunteering and giving back to the community in which I live is one of the things I enjoy doing.
There are many different sports at the BC Winter Games. This is where a lot of athletes make their start. One question asked to me, simply because I was sitting at the medical table was “how are the sports chosen that are played at these games”? I thought the different sports were chosen on their international merit and games. For example, if the sport is not at the Canada Games level or the Commonwealth or Olympic levels it is not likely to be selected to participate at the lower levels.
One example of this is rugby. While rugby is a very popular international sport that is played all over the world. This sport has not been included at the Canada Games since 2005, I believe. In addition, there is no rugby at the Commonwealth Games or Olympics. This may change and if it does it will cause ramifications down the sporting bodies chains all over the world. More people may start playing rugby at the local levels, which will build up to better rugby clubs in Canada, which has the potential to build up to a stronger National Team and make it to the Olympics to play for a medal. But back to the BC Winter Games.
I was at wheelchair basketball on Thursday and Friday. Thursday was a relaxing, non eventful day. It was a day of practice for the teams and myself. Initially, I had to figure out where Sports Clinic Physiotherapy was in Penticton. I found it to be in the Penticton Community Centre. It seemed like a nice clinic, however, it was packed with medical equipment for the games. I met the physiotherapy coordinator, Denise, and get the equipment and headed off to the venue, Penticton Secondary School.
Penticton Secondary is a really nice high school! The gym is in great condition, nice high ceilings, the bleachers and everything else looked to be in really good condition and ready to go for the athletes.
I listened in on the coach and referee meeting and got to introduce myself to the bunch of them at that time. I find that it is good to break the ice that way, they know who you are and not just the physiotherapist in the corner. They have some idea that I have worked with some wheelchair basketball athletes in the past and were glad to know that. Even though, the day was not busy, multiple times the coach’s would come up with athletes for some minor treatments, i.e. wrist taping, and I feel the rapport was built up even more. In addition, I meet Chelsea from the Pro Physio Clinic in Penticton. She was going to be working with me for both days at wheelchair basketball. I found out that one of her colleagues at the clinic was Darrel. I went to physiotherapy school, at U of A, with Darrel. I thought he was in Penticton, I tried to find him on Google but to no avail. He walked in later that day with one of his sons. It was very good to see him again and have a little visit. Just knowing the way Darrel was in school, I would not have an issue sending a client to go and see him.
Friday, early morning start! So early in fact by the time I got to Penticton Secondary School, the doors were still locked, I only managed to get in because a security guard was walking by and let me in. None of the athletes were there until close to 830 am so they could warm up and get ready for their game. There are 8 regions in BC, I believe and each team played two games. The games consist of 4, 8 minute, quarters. Each game took about an hour to complete. It is an interesting process about which players get to play on the court. There was not really any limitation at these games but I did talk with a classifier for the sport.
He said that at the Canada Games, teams are allowed 15 points on the court at once and international play allows 14 points. So how does one get classified to which point level? Let me tell you. If you are an able bodied person, i.e. you do not need to be in a wheelchair, no deficits, then you are 5 points. The other end of the spectrum, if you are in a wheelchair and are a higher level paraplegic, i.e. spinal cord injury about T5-6 and above, there is no control of the abdominals, obliques or any muscles in the legs. This really limits the amount that someone can twist/reach for the ball. Therefore they are given one point. A player that is worth 4 points, is a low level paraplegic, L4-5 or L5-S1. This person would have all their abdominals active but not full trunk mobility or complete leg function = 4 pointer. And it varies for the players to be classified as 2 and 3 pointers. There is are also half points, for example, someone has cerebral palsy, they are definitely not a 1 and not quite a 2. They can get the designation of 1.5. That is pretty cool!
I was back on Saturday later in the morning, early afternoon for Judo. It was the team competition. I expected there to a little more action that what there was a wheelchair basketball. Unfortunately, I was wrong. I arrived 15 minutes early for my shift at judo. Watched part of a bout and that was it. The bout ended and someone said from the judges table, all the bouts were over and the medal would be handed out at 3 pm. I looked around for the bit, the other side of the wall had Karate going. I was hoping to help the physiotherapists at Karate out for a couple of hours. Then over the loudspeaker at Karate, they said that would be the last bout and an hour break before resuming. My partner today, Derick, from Echelon Rehabilitation, in Summerland, when to check to see where we should be going today. I went over to talk to the Karate judges and find out about their scoring methods. What did I find out? 1 point = punch to the body anywhere. 2 points = kick to the body. 3 points = kick to the head or a complete take down of the opponent. It was interesting chatting with the judges. Derick came back and we were off to speed skating.
Speed skating, it was possibly short track in the South Okanagan Event Center, ice surface. It was fast and furious action. There were a lot of paramedics standing around, as the skates that speed skater use are extremely sharp. The body suits worn by speed skaters, even though they just look like spandex have Kevlar, I believe, woven into them so they are extremely difficulty to cut. There were some falls and some falls took numerous skaters out but no injuries! That makes for a long afternoon, standing around but it is great that nobody was injured. It is simply amazing how fast the skater can get going at this level. A step up, at the Canada Games, it is simply that much faster and then the World Cup and other international competitions are incredibly fast.
I always enjoy giving back to the community in which I live in or nearby. Enjoying to watch almost every sport is a bonus and helping this young athletes take it to the next level is awesome. They know that if they push their limit. a little too far, there is a great medical team ready to help them get back on their feet (or skates) as needed.
If you have injured yourself while doing your sport and want to get your game back, click here to book an appointment with New Leaf Physiotherapy.