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UCalgary continues to build on Olympic legacy with hands-on workshops

International participants receive Olympic diploma in sport medicine
May 1, 2017
A group of international doctors attend an International Olympic Committee (IOC) accreditation workshop at the University of Calgary. Photos by Riley Brandt, University of Calgary

A group of international doctors attend an International Olympic Committee (IOC) accreditation workshop at the University of Calgary. Photos by Riley Brandt, University of Calgary

Participants in IOC workshops on sport medicine for elite competitors came from seven countries.

Participants in IOC workshops on sport medicine for elite competitors came from seven countries.

William (Winne) Meeuwisse is founding chair of the Sports Injury Prevention Research Centre in the Faculty of Kinesiology.

William (Winne) Meeuwisse is founding chair of the Sports Injury Prevention Research Centre in the Faculty of Kinesiology.

Doctors around the world, with a wide range of different medical expertise, have come to the University of Calgary to complete their final step before attaining their International Olympic Committee Diploma in Sport Medicine.

Hosted by the Sport Injury Prevention Research Centre in the Faculty of Kinesiology, the program, now in its third year, trains physicians to properly manage the health and performance of elite competitors. The 11 participants taking part in workshops last week are from seven countries (Australia, British Virgin Islands, Canada, Japan, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and the United States). The organizations in which they practice their sport medicine are also diverse, from a country’s Olympic medical team, national leagues to club sports.

Dr. Harlan Vanterpool is a general medical surgeon from the British Virgin Islands who wanted to try something different than his active hospital practice.

“An opportunity came up to be the team physician for the Olympic committee. I volunteered for six months and I liked it and wanted to pursue the diploma,” says Vanterpool, who was the medical doctor for the British Virgin Islands Olympic team in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

Workshop features hands-on experiential learning

The aim of the workshop is to provide practical, hands-on experiential learning to expand on the lessons taught in more traditional lectures.

“I was really looking forward to the hands-on interaction and meeting all the colleagues and to finally see them face-to-face rather than in a WhatsApp chat,” says Vanterpool.

UCalgary is one of four sites in the world offering the workshop, along with Amsterdam, Oslo and Pretoria. Workshop topics include emergency stabilization, physical examination, concussion evaluation and ECG interpretation.

Dr. David Jeong, originally from South Korea and now an associate professor at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine in Springfield, Illinois, says he is interested in event medicine, emergency action plans and creating a sports medicine network from all the countries.  

“I want to expand my knowledge and experience in sport medicine and through this diploma program, I was able to focus on evidence-based sports medicine,” says Jeong, who will be involved in Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics as a venue medical officer.

World-class training embodies Eyes High vision

“It’s an honour to be selected to host this workshop. The participants, will benefit from teaching by our world-class physicians, physiotherapists and athletic therapists,” says Dr. Willem Meeuwisse, a physician at the University of Calgary Sport Medicine Centre, and founding chair of the Sports Injury Prevention Research Centre in the Faculty of Kinesiology.

“This sport medicine diploma program embodies the university’s Eyes High vision: it is research driven, enriches the quality and breadth of learning, and gives back to our local and international communities through prevention, research and treatment.”

Chaired by Carolyn Emery, the Sport Injury Prevention Research Centre is recognized as one of 10 IOC Research Centres of Excellence in the world. Each of these centres has a unique focus, Calgary’s being youth sport injury prevention. The centre is working in collaboration with the UCalgary Sport Medicine Centre to engage clinicians in this novel educational initiative within the Faculty of Kinesiology.

Sports Medicine Centre a legacy from the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics

The workshop is being hosted by Meeuwisse, who also an expert group member of the IOC Medical Commission. Meeuwisse helped develop the curriculum for the course, and provides several online lectures that participants complete leading up to the hands-on workshop. He was recruited to help build the Sports Medicine Centre in 1990; a legacy project from the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics that turned the athletes' medical facility into the clinic.

The IOC has also run a similar course covering sport nutrition. The next IOC diploma course underway will focus on sport physiotherapy, and will engage other members of the Faculty of Kinesiology in its development.