Dr. Rose Martel, Copeman Healthcare physician at the North Shore Centre, recently supported the International University Sports Federation (FISU) Summer Universiade Games held in Italy this past July as part of Team Canada’s core medical team. We spoke with Dr. Martel about her Games experience.
Dr. Martel, can you tell us a bit about the Summer Universiade Games?
Yes, the Summer Universiade is an international university sports and cultural event that is staged every two years in a different city. These games draw thousands of student-athletes together to compete, making it one of the largest multisport events in the world.
This year’s Games took place in Napoli, Italy, from July 3rd to 14th. It also happened to be the 60th anniversary of the first Universiade Games and saw over 6,000 athletes compete in eighteen different sports.
And what was your role at the Games?
I was part of the Canadian medical team (called “core medical”) where our mandate was to treat all injuries and illnesses affecting Canada’s 140 participating athletes and 170 support staff which included coaches, staff and officials. The core medical team consisted of four physicians divided between three cities. We provided onsite venue care, as well as 24-hour clinic coverage for the athlete villages, and saw to both chronic and acute conditions.
How did you get selected to support the Games?
The selection process is quite rigorous, as any Canadian Sport and Exercise Medicine (CSEM) physician, regardless of specialty, can apply. Physicians are selected based on their past event coverage experience and teamwork skillset. You typically need prior international event experience, such as abled- or disabled-body World Cups, Francophonie Games, Pan Am Games, Commonwealth Games or Olympics.
Can you tell us a bit about your background in sports medicine?
I’ve always had a passion for sports medicine. I completed my Sports Medicine Fellowship at the University of British Columbia in 2012 and have been providing medical coverage for different summer and winter sport events both locally and internationally ever since. I have supported many sporting events including the FIFA Women’s World Cup, Intercontinental Cups, National North American Cups & Viessmann World Cups, World Taekwondo Junior Championships, Cycling Grand and the Fancophonie Games, to name a few.
What takeaways do you get from supporting sporting events like these?
Working in a major event like the Summer Universiade is an excellent team experience and requires one to be open-minded, patient, positive and resourceful as well as a good team player. It brings us Canadians together and provides a rich cultural experience. But nothing is more rewarding than treating an ailing athlete, who has put in years of hard work, and then seeing them reach the podium a few days later.
The beautiful thing about FISU Games is that it promotes both athleticism and high-level education. These athletes are part of our growing highly skilled and educated workforce, and I’m very proud to encourage and take part in this organization.