Abu Dhabi: In modern sports injuries are part and parcel of every sportsmen’s life and the role of the support staff becomes critical in realising the true potential of the sportsmen in international arena. Dr Abdulla Alrahoomi feels happy after the mission accomplished in managing the massive UAE contingent during the recently concluded Asian Games in Hangzhou, China.
Alrahoomi, Vice-President of National Olympic Medical Committee and also an Executive Member of the Asian Federation of Sports Medicine (AFSM), had the unenviable task of managing 140-member UAE contingent, where the athletes participated in several sports.
The UAE’s medal tally of 20 at the Hangzhou Asian games bettered their previous best performance at the Jakarta Asian Games 2018, where they won seven medals. This achievement placed the UAE third among Arab countries participating in this year’s Asian Games and 16th in the overall standings, advancing four positions from the last edition.
Prepared for any contingencies
“As physicians on the Olympic medical committee, we must be prepared to handle any injuries that may arise during the Games. Considering that we have 140 athletes participating, we need to be agile, keep a sharp eye out, act promptly, and be decisive with the kind of treatment we administer since time is critical during such high-stakes situations,” said Dr. Alrahoomi.
“On-ground, we offered a range of medical services, including evaluating athletes’ health and pre-existing conditions, managing illnesses and injuries during the games, ensuring athletes have the necessary therapeutic use exemptions for medications, and providing post-competition care and rehabilitation for injured athletes,” he continued.
The UAE national team participated in several categories, including shooting, horse riding, athletics, swimming, cycling, judo, taekwondo, karate, ju-jitsu, boxing, basketball, rugby, sailing, chess, golf, e-sports and triathlon in the Asian Games 2023, which concluded on October 8.
With a contingent of five doctors and six physical therapists, Dr. Alrahoomi, who occupies several roles, serving as a Consultant in Sports & Exercise Medicine and Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation at Healthpoint, an M42 company, and also the Founder and President of the Emirates Society of Rehabilitation and Sports Medicine (ESRSM), and his medical team were focused on adopting the latest technologies to support athletes to perform at their best.
“We were using new technologies to evaluate the nutritional status of UAE athletes, with a focus on nutritional deficits. We have deployed an illness and injury reporting system to track and manage any health issues that can potentially arise during the games. We were also implementing certain specialised devices for recovery and performance assessment, such as hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT), which enhances recovery after training, competitions, or even injuries,” he explained.
Managing injuries is key
He also stressed that athletes need to undergo annual health assessments, be cautious about medications, and work closely with sports medicine physicians to enhance athletic performance and managing injuries.
Dr. Alrahoomi said: “I have been part of various world championships, including the Special Olympics World Games in 2019, the Tokyo Olympics, the Tokyo Paralympics, the Special Olympics Invitational Games in Malta, and the 5th Islamic Solidarity Games in Turkey. I am also honoured to be part of the Paralympic Asian Games taking place in Hangzhou, the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in Bangkok, the Summer Olympic Games in Paris, and the Summer Paralympic Games in Paris, all of which take place during 2024.
“It brings me great joy to be able to support some of the country’s finest athletes in their pursuit to represent the UAE. I am proud to be able to offer my expertise to help train sports medicine professionals and ensure that we are able to compete on an international level, adding to the country’s pride,” he concluded.