In the realm of medicine, elite athletes represent a unique cohort of patients with distinct demands. The convergence of high training and competition volumes, coupled with the need for rapid recovery, creates a complex healthcare landscape that necessitates specialised care.
Supported by Changi General Hospital, the Singapore Sport & Exercise Medicine Centre @ Singapore Sport Institute (SSMC@SSI) is a hub where the art and science of sports medicine converge to optimise the health and performance of national athletes.
Here, we shed light on the medical services provided at the Centre.
THE UNIQUE MEDICAL NEEDS OF ATHLETES
Athletes, with their remarkable feats and unwavering commitment, stand as paragons of physical and mental prowess. Yet, beneath their exceptional exterior lies a unique set of medical considerations.
The rigorous training regimens, coupled with the pursuit of peak performance, create an environment where the margin for medical error is significantly reduced. Athletes must navigate the challenges of injury prevention, rapid recovery and overall well-being, all while striving to excel in their chosen disciplines.
As sport and exercise medicine physicians, it is crucial to recognise these distinctive needs and collaborate with the multidisciplinary team of allied health professionals and sport scientists to provide the highest level of care.
COMPREHENSIVE MEDICAL SCREENING: AN UNDERPINNING FOR OPTIMAL ATHLETE HEALTH AND PERFORMANCE
At the heart of SSMC@SSI’s medical services lies a comprehensive medical screening programme tailored for national athletes. This programme underscores the principle that proactive healthcare plays a pivotal role in enhancing athlete well-being and optimising performance.
The screening protocol encompasses clinical evaluations, laboratory tests and electrocardiograms, with a dual focus on physical and mental health.
By delving into athletes’ medical history, assessing their current health status and identifying potential risk factors, SSMC@SSI ensures that each athlete receives personalised care that aligns with their unique requirements.
Mental well-being integration
The integration of mental well-being in the screening process attests to the holistic approach that SSMC@SSI champions.
Athlete mental health is acknowledged as an intrinsic component of overall performance. Byrecognising the interplay between psychological and physiological factors, SSMC@SSI ensures that athletes receive the multidimensional care they deserve.
ENHANCED MEDICAL SERVICES AT MAJOR GAMES COMPETITIONS: SUPPORTING TEAM SINGAPORE'S TRIUMPHS
Major games competitions mark the pinnacle of an athlete’s journey, demanding medical services that are swift, efficient and responsive. SSMC@SSI’s approach to medical care during such events is characterised by innovation and precision.
The amalgamation of telemedicine and in-person consultations emerges as a hallmark of SSMC@SSI’s approach.
In the fast-paced world of sports, athletes often require immediate healthcare attention, irrespective of their geographical location. Through telemedicine, SSMC@SSI provides real-time consultations, enabling athletes and officials to access expert medical guidance promptly even when training or competing overseas.
According to SSMC@SSI Medical Director Adjunct Associate Professor Kelvin Chew, “Telemedicine empowers us to address athletes’ medical needs swiftly and efficiently, regardless of their physical location. This enables us to offer comprehensive care, contributing to their performance excellence.”
Precision in medical diagnosis is paramount for athletes.
SSMC@SSI leverages portable diagnostic musculoskeletal ultrasound as an adjunctive tool for on-the-spot accurate diagnoses. This technology enables immediate visualisation of soft tissues, joints and musculoskeletal structures, empowering medical experts to make informed decisions about injuries.
By incorporating this tool into its arsenal, SSMC@SSI shortens diagnostic timelines and facilitates athlete engagement in their recovery journey.
HOLISTIC ATHLETE CARE THROUGH COLLABORATION OF SPORTS MEDICINE AND SPORTS SCIENCE
The well-being and performance of athletes are best optimised through a holistic approach that encompasses both medical and scientific aspects. SSMC@SSI stands as a testament to this synergy.
Physiotherapy, exercise rehabilitation and massage therapy form a core component of athlete recovery and rehabilitation.
SSMC@SSI’s physiotherapy and exercise rehabilitation programmes are meticulously designed to accelerate recovery, restore functionality and prevent recurrence of injuries. The integration of massage therapy further fosters muscle recovery, aiding athletes in their pursuit of peak performance.
Ms Suelyn Chan, Senior Principal Physiotherapist at Changi General Hospital and Physiotherapy Lead at SSMC@SSI underlines, “Our integrated approach to physiotherapy and exercise rehabilitation is tailored to each athlete’s needs. By combining advanced techniques and individualised attention, we ensure that their recovery journey is optimised.”
SSMC@SSI recognises that comprehensive athlete care extends beyond medical treatments. This is where sports sciences come into play. Biomechanics, nutrition, psychology, strength and conditioning, and physiology collectively contribute to enhancing athletes’ performance, resilience and overall well-being.
The Head of SSMC@SSI, Dr Marcus Lee, asserts, “Sports science complements sports medicine to complete the holistic care picture. By delving into the nuances of athletes’ biomechanics, psychology and nutrition, we create a roadmap to elevate their performance while fostering their well-being.”
SSMC@SSI’S COMMITMENT TO ATHLETE CARE
SSMC@SSI’s commitment to elevating athlete care stands as a shining light in the realm of sports medicine. The intricate fusion of comprehensive medical screening, innovative medical services at major games, and the synergy between sports medicine and sports science create a platform where athletes receive personalised, multidimensional care that is tailored to their unique needs.