A Day in a Life of a Radiologist at the 2020 Summer Olympic Games
Sports imaging is a widely known subspecialty amongst the radiology community but not necessarily to the rest of the world. The role that radiologists play and the importance of medical imaging in sports medicine is not necessarily top of mind to the average lay person. This summer there will be an opportunity to highlight this important work during one of the largest events in the world, the 2020 (2021) Summer Olympics being held in Tokyo, Japan.
Our very own Dr. Bruce Forster, from University of British Columbia, has been a member of the International Olympic Commission Medical and Scientific Games Group (GG) for the last two years. Dr. Forster is the only radiologist member and one of only three Canadians in this group. The other members include representatives from other disciplines such as pharmacy, dental, physiotherapy, sports medicine, emergency, and trauma care. The GG serves as consultants for medical care at the Games and provide the organizing committee with information from previous Games and guidance on how to optimize athlete medical care. Examples include guidance on applicable imaging, equipment, health human resource requirements and proper safety protocols. The GG has been focused on the Tokyo Games for the last three years, and meets regularly virtually, both with each other and also with the specialty teams. For Dr. Forster, this involves liaising with the Chief Radiologist and the Head of the Polyclinic, whose team includes approximately 20 radiologists and 50 technologists, all from Japan. During the Games, the GG will meet daily for two hours to discuss any issues arising from the previous day. The remainder of the time is typically spent at the Polyclinic or at selected venues.
This group will also be conducting seven imaging research projects during the Games, and Dr. Forster will be involved in at least two as the Principal Investigator. Research topics include spondylolysis and symptoms in elite athletes, the spectrum of upper extremity injuries in volleyball (beach vs indoor) and racquet sports, incidence and type of injuries in 3×3 basketball (new this year), MRI of core body injuries and determination of sports most at risk, and muscle/bone strain injuries in ultrasound and MRI. In addition, the GG is running a prospective trial of providing ultrasound to athletes at the venues rather than at the Polyclinic for soccer, rugby, team handball and BMX cycling. A proof of concept was established during the Vancouver Winter Olympics in 2010. Dr. Forster was the Director of Imaging for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games and was selected for the Tokyo Olympics because of his experience.
“The Olympic and Paralympic Games are a fantastic opportunity for radiologists to demonstrate their leadership in the athlete care team. Based on experience from Vancouver 2010 and other summer/winter games, we look forward to helping athletes in Tokyo achieve performance excellence and to inspire the world.” says Dr. Forster.
Over the course of the next month, we will be following Dr. Forster closely on social media and will connect with him following his experience post-Games. He will be providing a sneak peek from the sidelines for various sporting events and some of the research taking place. We wish him much success in this endeavour and applaud his work during the 2020 Olympic Games.
While the pandemic has had a significant impact on the world and the postponement of the 2020 Games, the GG is looking forward to resuming this global event in a safe manner. This is an excellent opportunity to showcase the work of radiologists and the importance of medical imaging in sports.