Meet our Sports Doctor

15th November 2021

Written by: Dr. Vicaan During

As a doctor working in sport I often get asked 2 questions by friends and family, other doctors and patients:

1) “What do you actually do when you work with sports teams?”

2) “Why should I see a Sports Doctor for my joint/soft tissue injury when I don’t play any sports?”.

Both of these questions I will try to answer below.

I have been working in professional sport since 2014; working with individuals and sports teams of various ages across a variety of sports. All of these athletes have the same common goal: to be fit and well enough to compete and win. Despite the seemingly unbelievable athletic ability that these athletes possess, when all is stripped back they are still human beings who get sick and injured like the rest of us. As such, my role often involves being an “in-house” GP for the athlete to help manage their illness. Alongside this, I work alongside various therapists in managing any injuries that we find, whether that is at the training ground, pitch side at a football match, in a tent during a marathon or a hotel room or portacabin anywhere around the country and internationally. In fact, I wrote this blog whilst away in Andorra with England Men’s U21 football team (a beautiful country I might add). I will frequently travel with an ultrasound scanner, meaning that even in the most obscure or remote places I am able to scan patients where necessary without the need to try to find an MRI or Xray machine. Every sport I work in places different physical requirements on the athlete, therefore it is vital I have an understanding of this to be able to manage their problem better. Any management options must be carefully considered and discussed with the athlete, most commonly alongside a Physiotherapist, so that they are aware of any possible implications that it could have on their availability to train and compete.

The skills I use in sport are the exact same skills I use if you come to see me in clinic. You do not need to be an England footballer or an Olympian to have a joint or soft tissue problem. In fact, the vast majority of the people I see outside of professional sport in my NHS clinics do not exercise regularly or at least are not taking part regularly in organised sport. Understanding how your problem affects your ability to exercise, go to work or even just to relax at home or sleep is a key part of knowing what makes you tick and to help me to understand how I can best help you manage your problem. The use of ultrasound in clinic means I can see you, examine and then scan you in 1 appointment. This means I can often give (and show) you what is wrong in real time and treatment can be started or continued immediately without needing to have any other type of scan. If needed, an injection can be given to help you manage your pain and allow you to continue your rehabilitation under the Therapists and Osteopaths. As much as I enjoy working in sport, I possibly get more enjoyment from when NHS patients who I treat thank me for taking the time to explain what is wrong with them and helping them manage their problem on their roads to recovery.

I hope that this has given you some understanding about how I work as a doctor. I look forward to working with you to try to get you better from whatever issue is affecting you and getting you back to things you enjoy doing.

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