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Volunteers of the medical team at athletes’ disposal 24/7

19/7/2016

News - Volunteers of the medical team at athletes’ disposal 24/7

They took care of orbital fractures, deep wounds, joint dislocation, and sprained ankles. Dora Miketek, head of the volunteer medical team, said that the evening briefing gave everyone a chance to share their experience from that day with the colleagues.

At around 23 h, when the volunteers can take a break from a long day of work and the athletes can regain their strength for the competitions to come, the Volunteer Centre at the University of Kinesiology becomes a gathering place for a friendly bunch. Resting on the couch and smiling as if it were noon, the volunteer medical team is ready to begin the briefing. There are about 30 volunteers, and while most of them are physical therapy students, some of them are studying medicine, pharmacology, or kinesiology. All of them accompanied a licenced doctor at one of the venues that day. While the day passed without much fuss for some of them, for the others it was more troublesome. They are often faced not only with orbital fractures, deep wounds, joint dislocation, and sprained ankles.

Doctors of the medical team Dr Stipe Ćorluka – assistant coordinator for Zagreb, Dr Tomislav Čengić – coordinator of the medical team for Zagreb, Dr Ante Subašić – member of the medical team and Dr Dejan Blažević – assistant coordinator for Zagreb have only words of praise for the volunteers.

 From left to right : Dr Stipe Ćorluka – assistant coordinator for Zagreb, Dr Tomislav Čengić – coordinator of the medical team for Zagreb, Dr Ante Subašić – member of the medical team, Dr Dejan Blažević, assistant coordinator for Zagreb


From left to right: Dr Stipe Ćorluka, – assistant coordinator for Zagreb, Dr Tomislav Čengić – coordinator of the medical team for Zagreb, Dr Ante Subašić –member of the medical team and Dr Dejan Blažević, assistant coordinator for Zagreb

Coordinator of the medical team in Zagreb said volunteers are crucial in providing health support.
’Covering so many sports venues would not be possible without the volunteers. This is their chance to learn and to meet their colleagues from all over Europe who are also in the biomedical field. Their commitment to these Games is to be applauded’

‘Covering so many sports venues would not be possible without the volunteers. This is their chance to learn and to meet their colleagues from all over Europe who are also in the biomedical field. Their commitment to these Games is to be applauded’

Motivated to help

Dora Miketek, head of the volunteer medical team, said that the evening briefing gave everyone a chance to share their experience from that day with the colleagues.

‘It is very important to share experiences. It is highly unlikely that each and every one of us will encounter every type of injury on a given day. That’s why we tell each other what kind of a sports injury we were faced with that day and how we dealt with it. Some of us have been practicing sports medicine for a while now, so we have some tricks up the sleeve that we can share with the others.’

Even if the volunteers are just students or have only recently graduated, dealing with injuries requires a great deal of knowledge and skill. Dora is the president of the Student Council and the head of the Volunteering and Humanitarian Activities Department at the University of Applied Health Studies. She has already taken part in many volunteering projects, and she is particularly happy with her experience at the European Universities Games.

‘My team is made up of so many wonderful people. I’m honoured to lead them. They are motivated to the max. They have no problem with 12-hour shifts, even though no one is forcing them to work such long hours, and even then they want me to assign them additional tasks. When they have time, they go and help the other teams, because they realize this is a big project. They are very responsible and are always at the venues an hour before the competition.’

They keep on playing despite injuries

Tina Krmpotić finished her studies in physical therapy last year and she is currently working in the women’s handball club ‘Lokomotiva’. The karateists will remember for her never-fading smile that always cheered them up during the competition.

‘The doctors and volunteers both want the players to stay in the game until the end. Something that I will always find fascinating is the athletes’ fighting spirit. Regardless of the gravity of the injury, they keep on playing. They could take a break, but they would rather keep on fighting, even with a split lip.’

After returning from men’s futsal, we came across a tandem made up of Dr. Zrinko Šalek and physical therapy student Robert Matošević. Zrinko is working to become a paediatrician, and after his shift in the University Hospital Centre, he helps out at the Games.

‘I find this collaboration between doctors and students to be very beneficial. I’ve met many future colleagues who love medicine as much as they love spots. We provide care, and at the same time, we cheer on our athletes.’

Prevention is better than cure

Physical therapy student Robert has successfully passed all his exams and is only a thesis away from graduation. He loves what he does and hopes to get a job in a sports club.

‘When it comes to sports injuries, the most important thing is prevention. That includes stretching, situation training, and supervised training in gyms. I know it’s a clichéd phrase, but prevention really is better than cure.’

The volunteer medical team started their education a long while before the Games. They are thankful to the Medical Committee and all the organizers of the Games for training them to use defibrillators, which are present at every venue. Along with their numerous skills and wide knowledge, these young people now also possess a first aid certificate.

Martin Oroz is a fourth year medical student at the University of Zagreb. He described volunteering at the Games as a great experience and his first night shift was particularly memorable.

‘They placed me in a temporary ambulance for two days, where I covered my first night shift. A doctor was also available, but I did my share of the work. Although there weren’t any interventions, I will always remember that shift.’

Eszter is already thinking of Coimbra

This year’s Games are the fifth volunteering event for Eszter Gulyás from Hungary, who finished her studies in pharmacology just last month. Her first time volunteering was in 2012 in Cordoba. Her colleagues describe her as a valuable addition to the team because of her wide knowledge of medicines.

‘I love that I can combine pharmacology with sports. My parents are both PI teachers and I practiced swimming for 15 years. I also played college handball. I’m going on an Erasmus post-graduate exchange in Germany this September, and I hope to volunteer at the next Games in Coimbra as well.’

‘Men are generally physically stronger, so they suffer fewer injuries, but the women’s fighting spirit is something I’ve always admired. One of the female rugby players wanted to get back in the game after receiving stitches. The sporting spirit and the sense of fair-play are pervading the Games.’

These young people’s enthusiasm is something worthy of praise, as well as their will to learn. Just like the athletes, they are the living proof that doing something you love while studying is not a question of choice – it is a question of passion.

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