A Lifelong Dream Accomplished for Olympic Physical Therapist Jeremy Crow
Friday, August 12, 2016
Posted by: Carla Rosenbaum
On Day 7 of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, NYPTA Member Jeremy Crow shares his experience so far as a physical therapist for the elite athletes at this event. Jeremy’s story begins with the application process to become a medical volunteer, touches on his arrival in Rio, and discusses his daily experience with both the athletes and medical professionals from around the world. Crow’s time in Rio has been action packed so far, but on his day off he took time to answer our questions and share his experience with fellow NYPTA Members.
Questions for Jeremy? Put them in the “Comments” section below, and we will select some to use in his follow up interview after the Olympics have concluded.
1. How did you become a medical volunteer for the Rio 2016 Olympics?
To be a volunteer for Rio 2016, which is basically the sponsor for the Olympics, you usually fill out the medical volunteer form 2 years in advance. I was late to the game and only did it about a year in advance. There's an outlined process with dates etc when you apply. As a PT I had to submit my CV and proof of license. I was late to the game so I didn't get to choose which sports I wanted to work with like some of the other volunteers I have met here. They tell you that you need to be available for at least 10 days, and since it is a volunteer situation, you must find your own housing and transportation to Rio.
Once the committee receives your application then you have to check back on the volunteer portal. Once they accepted mine, then I had to go through a series of interviews, and an English proficiency exam - all basic procedural things. After all this was completed, they assign assignments the order they received them. Fortunately I knew someone who put my application through past the deadline, and she assigned me the volleyball venue, and you accept the assignment.
2. Which sport’s athletes are you working with?
I was assigned the volleyball venue field of play, which means I'm courtside in case of any injuries for both the men's and women's teams. Most teams have their own doctors and PT/ATC but so far we have had ankle sprains and fractures, so we assist the team getting crutches, take them to the training for further evaluation, or to get imaging - either x-ray or MRI if warranted.
3. How many hours per day are you working with the team?
My shift is 8 am-5 pm. The other shift is 5 pm -1 am. Usually we have 3 matches during that time. I get 2 days off, which are both Thursday's. I work a total of 14 days with 2 days off. So they are long days, especially because I want to see other events and as I've met medical staff MDs, PTs, and massage therapist from all over the world, I’m also trying to network.
4.What have you learned during this experience so far that you will apply to your daily practice of physical therapy back in the US?
I think one of the most interesting things is how myofascial decompression or cupping is now taken off because of Michael Phelps. Many Athletes have been using it for a long time but I think that he is a trend setter this Olympics, as kinesio taping was in London 2012.
Overall, I am fascinated with the difference in medicine practiced in different countries from Latin American, Europe, and Asia. Speaking with different medical staff about different approaches only further develops this paradigm that we as health care providers working together can be seamless when we all have the athletes best interest at hand.
I have had the pleasure of working with 3 different Brazilian orthopedic surgeons and watching the different braces the athletes wear which we don't use in the US, which is also interesting.
5. Have you had a chance to explore Rio while you’re working there – if so, can you tell us some of the things you have seen or done?
Well this is my 5th time to Rio so I'm pretty fortunate to have seen the many tourist attractions that are must see, and I have friends here, so I am kind spoiled that way. Today on my day off I am going to the beach, but for me it is exciting seeing the opening ceremonies and the other events: gymnastics and Michael Phelps swimming have been highlights. I also want to check out beach volleyball and track and field. There’s so much to do, especially when you work 6 days a week, but this experience has been like no other. The minute I got off the plane you could feel the energy, the excitement. This is the closest thing I will ever get to being in the Olympics and that is pretty amazing. Lifelong dream - check.