Medics set to patch up lacrosse athletes

ERIC BENDER -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 8:01 AM ET

The health of more than 800 lacrosse players in London over the next 10 days is the prime concern of Bob Furlong, executive director of the Fowler Kennedy Sport Medicine Clinic.

But working to maintain the "care and well-being" of top competitors is an irregular service for the clinic that, this year, sees three events on its patient list.

"We just did the (Ontario) Paralympic games (in London) and we'll be doing the LPGA," Furlong said. "It's a busy summer."

Working an international event such as the world lacrosse championship is more challenging, he said.

As vice-chairperson of the games' medical service, Furlong has had to provide information and seek any special requests from across the world well in advance.

"Some teams are bringing their own medical personnel and that'll be a big help," he said. "The local staff of 60 volunteer medical personnel will ensure there's a staffer at each game, and each venue (TD Waterhouse Stadium and the North London fields) will have a medical tent."

A physiotherapist will be available for pregame taping and then provide sideline care during games, including providing water and ice.

Furlong said the forecast is for hot weather and a precaution is to keep athletes hydrated.

"It's a rough sport. We expect a few injuries."

A meeting was set for yesterday with the visiting medical personnel to acquaint them with Canadian protocols and EMS.

Diagnostic services have to go through Fowler Kennedy because foreign medics don't have access.

Massage and chiropractic services will be outlined and the medical committee will provide maps to London's hospitals if anyone wants to go privately.

Twenty-hour pharmacies are being identified and foreigners will be acquainted with 911.

Specialists such as orthopedic personnel, eye and nose specialists are on call.

Furlong said they came in handy when a rower at the Canada Summer Games lost a contact lens that had to be replaced before competition.

Part of the job, Furlong said, will be working with the International Lacrosse Federation, the local organizing committee and the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport on drug testing.

"St. John Ambulance is doing a ton of work," he said. "They'll do more of the spectator care."


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