Some of the world’s best athletes graced the Gold Coast for the 2018 Commonwealth Games in April and walking among them was local physiotherapist Libby Harrison.
After applying for a position 18 months ago, Libby was selected to work among a host of professionals in a polyclinic inside the Athlete’s Village.
Libby was one of 40 physios in the polyclinic, working alongside sports doctors, radiographers, sports masseuses, pharmacists and podiatrists.
Rubbing shoulders with some of the top physios in the country, Libby learned a great deal during the two weeks.
Libby said the challenging experience was up there in the “top end” of her physio experiences.
“It was busy and intense, but it was a really good experience and it’s great to be able to bring that experience back into what I’m doing day-to-day and to have a bit of a different outlook in how I approach work,” she said.
The Principal Physiotherapist at Westside Physiotherapy had the chance to work on top class athletes, including Jamaican hurdler Yanique Thompson and Grenadian decathlon athlete Kurt Felix.
Libby said working with elite athletes was quite different to the clientele she usually deals with on a day-to-day basis.
She declared that the athletes were more egotistical when compared to her usual clients, as they were very confident about what they wanted.
“You’re working with people who really understand their body and put their bodies through a lot of stress,” Libby said.
“They already had some knowledge, so you had to go further in depth into why an injury has occurred and really give them that explanation for them to trust you.
“You really had to think outside the box about what treatment could be done because they had to be back competing that day or the next day.”
When not working, Libby had the opportunity to explore the Games, having a look around the facilities in the Athlete’s Village and watching a variety of sports.
An avid basketballer and netballer, Libby enjoyed having the chance to see the Boomers and the Diamonds up close, but her favourite event came from left field.
“I really loved the weightlifting … it was very entertaining,” she said.
“I had never seen it before so it was just very random, but it was really good.”
Libby picked up new techniques for taping and rehab guidance, as well as learning different ways to get people back into sport and daily activity quicker.
But there is no time for rest after a hectic fortnight, with Libby jetting off to Geelong for the Australian National Basketball Championships on Friday, April 20. Libby joins the under 18 SA Country side as the team physio for the third year in a row.
“I have set up some ‘prehab’ programs and done some education with them so that they’re better prepared to get through the week,” she said.