Team GB & NI tops the medals table!
Inspirational examples of human courage and physical fitness were celebrated across the North East as the World Transplant Games came to Newcastle and Gateshead last month.
Nearly 1,400 athletes from 56 countries competed at iconic sporting venues around the North East. They were accompanied by a further 2,000+ supporters.
Team Great Britain and Northern Ireland, with 300 transplant athletes came out on top of the medals table with a truly impressive haul of 207 gold, 152 silver and 128 bronze. Second place with 67 gold, 51 silver and 38 bronze were the team from the USA, with Islamic Republic of Iran 3rd, Canada 4th and South Africa in 5th place.
More importantly the Games highlighted the value of organ donation and the second chance of life that competing athletes had been given. In the run-up to the Games a memorial baton celebrating organ donation travelled around England visiting transplant centres for a series of NHS Organ Donation showcase events. ‘Tom’s Baton’ was created in memory of Tom Wilson, a talented hockey player who lost his life in 2015 in a freak accident. At the start of Tom’s Baton Relay in London was Fatima the recipient of Tom’s liver and to receive that baton at the relay finish in Newcastle was Gordon who received Tom’s heart.
In support of the athletes throughout the Games was a team of 60 Physios, Sports Therapists, Sports Rehabilitators and Students. Having been asked to provide the Therapy service for this international event I very quickly realised that we would need a reliable and comprehensive online recording system and approached PPS having used their software at my private practice in Kendal for many years. In discussion with the Medical Director it was also decided to incorporate the Medical note keeping for the Games so that we could have a fully integrated record keeping system. The staff at PPS could not have been more helpful – initially Tabitha and later Natalie and Jade as well as Adam and Andy on the technical side. They worked with us to import the Medical data, to set up specific forms and also to provide training for all those using the system. The Games started with a Symposium on Transplantation during which the Therapy team received training about the Acute Care Rehab after transplantation, the management of Transplant Athletes and training in the electronic notes which Natalie and Jade kindly came to deliver to us. The team was then in action throughout the Games supporting the athletes at various events as well as at 2 drop-in clinics running morning and evening north and south of the river. The electronic records allowed us to see the athlete’s Therapy treatments over the week, to assess the medical issues and any hospital referrals and follow the athletes through any medical and hospital visits. This was invaluable for ensuring that all athletes had a seamless experience for whatever their medical or therapeutic needs.
Over the course of the week the Therapy team carried out a total of 1339 individual treatments – almost 1 per athlete! The production of reports to analyse the treatments carried out and provide data for future events has been invaluable and we could certainly not have provided such a comprehensive and integrated service without the support of PPS.
The World Transplant Games 2019 was a truly remarkable celebration of life. The volunteers who took part on the Therapy Team were inspired by the athletes they met and treated and got a real buzz from helping them achieve their goals. Seeing them come back in with their medals was incredibly rewarding and a real affirmation of life.
The World Transplant Games NewcastleGateshead 2019 was supported by NHS Blood and Transplant and a number of businesses both in the North East and nationally, including Games sponsors Westfield Health and HSBC.
About the World Transplant Games
- The World Transplant Games are staged by The World Transplant Games Federation in order to promote the benefits of transplantation, raise public awareness and increase organ donation, whilst encouraging transplant patients to regain fitness.
- The Games are staged annually (Summer and Winter Games alternate each year) and are held in a different country each year, to support the Federation’s aims of engaging with the global transplant community and spread the message about the need for people to not only sign the donation register but share their wishes with family.
- The World Transplant Games Federation was officially formed in 1987, and now has almost 70 member countries worldwide.
- For more information of the World Transplant Games Federation visit – http://wtgf.org
- The World Transplant Games 2019 are delivered by destination management and marketing organisation, NewcastleGateshead Initiative, on behalf of the U.K. charity Transplant Sport, and in partnership with a range of stakeholders and partners including, MLS, Newcastle City Council, Gateshead Council, Sunderland City Council, Transplant Sport, The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Newcastle University, Northumbria University Newcastle, Donor Family Network and NHS Blood and Transplant.
- The Local Organising Committee for the World Transplant Games 2019 is chaired by North East businessman, Graham Wylie CBE.
- For more information on the World Transplant Games visit www.worldtransplantgames.org
About NHS Blood and Transplant
- NHS Blood and Transplant is a joint England and Wales Special Health Authority. We provide the blood donation service for England and the organ donation service for the UK. We also provide donated tissues, stem cells and cord blood. We are an essential part of the NHS, saving and improving lives through public donation.
From Spring 2020 the law around organ and tissue donation in England is changing. Unless you choose to opt out, or are in an excluded group, if you are 18 and above and live in England it will be considered that you agreed to be an organ donor when you die. Whatever your decision, make your choice clear to your family and closest friends to help ensure your choice is honoured. NHS Blood and Transplant’s #PassItOn campaign encourages people to pass on their organs and save lives; make their decision and pass it on those closest to them; spread the word and help us pass on the campaign message to others.
About Transplant Sport
- Transplant Sport was established in 1978 to encourage organ donation and is now the UK’s largest charity dedicated to raising awareness of the life-saving benefits of organ donation and remaining active and healthy post-transplant.
- The British Transplant Games are the flagship event of Transplant Sport and the charity was also instrumental in bringing the World Transplant Games to NewcastleGateshead for August 2019.
- For more information on Transplant Sport, visit: www.transplantsport.org.uk