Why So Many Jamaican Injuries?
The question on the lips of every fan following the Olympic Games in Beijing was, “why are the Jamaicans so fast?” Beijing was like a fairy tale for Jamaica as we completely dominated the sprints and won medals in other events as well. Unfortunately, following the London Games, a new question has emerged, “why are there so many Jamaican injuries?”
It is understandable that our athletes, in trying to improve on the Beijing performance, have pushed their bodies to the limit, causing their bodies to break down resulting in injuries. As a result, it is imperative to assemble the best medical staff available that is capable of handling all their injury woes.
For decathlete Maurice Smith, nerve injury in his back (sciatica) forced him to pull out of the Olympics. Kenia Sinclair failed to line up for the start of the 800m heats due to a back injury. Germaine Gonzales and Rusheen McDonald failed to advance past the first round of the 400 meter event due to a hamstring and back injury respectively. Sprinting star and former world record holder, Asafa Powell failed to race to the finish in the finals of the 100 meter event due to a groin (adductor muscle) injury and Usain Bolt underperformed, by his own standards, due to back injury.
To ensure the health of our athletes, it is imperative to select the best team of ancillary personnel to care for them. Our 50 member Olympic team had as a part of its medical team 4 massage therapists, 2 physiotherapists and 3 medical doctors. Notably, no team psychologist/psychiatrist or team chiropractor was selected to travel with the team.
Every major championship, since 1996, Jamaica has had a chiropractor
with the team in the persons of the late Dr. Glenton Smith (Jamaican)
andDr. Michael Douglas (Miami, USA). There are 4 chiropractors that have
extensive experience working with athletes and have worked with many of
our locally and internationally based athletes, all currently practicing in
Jamaica. When the delegation was named and no chiropractors were
selected, I was both shocked and disappointed. The medical personnel
selected were clearly not adequate to meet the health needs of the team.
The selection committee must be called to account.
Though it is no guarantee that the inclusion of a chiropractor would have
averted our injury woes, one has to wonder what difference a chiropractor
would have been able to make, especially for the athletes with back
Who knows, maybe Usain Bolt would have been able to deliver in London
the first sub 19 second 200 meter performance in history.
The Gleaner , Monday | August 13, 2012