One of our favourite bloggers, the Adventure Medic, has just shared an awesome interview with extreme sports medic, Dr Francesco Feletti, that we wanted you all to read.
Below is a shortened version of the interview which gives you an insight into the life of an extreme sports medic.
Ever since he was a child, Franceso has been competitively involved with various sports, including athletics, sailing and windsurfing, at an international level. Whilst these seem like quite normal sports, enthusiasm and curiosity also led him to trying a range of adventure sports including kite-buggying, snow-kiting, downhill mountain biking, paragliding and skydiving.
‘Extreme sports’ covers such a broad range of activities which are evolving constantly. Whilst ‘extreme’ immediately evokes the concept of risk it does not necessarily mean dangerous. In fact, in some extreme sports, both the incident rates and the severity of injuries are lower than in many traditional sports. Extreme sports are also typically in unpredictable arenas and have a high degree of technicality, typically meaning their performance evaluation is around scoring not placings.
Technology will play a decisive role in the future of extreme sports medicine. Not just in terms of helmets and ergonomic protection systems, but in keeping pace with the technology of the sports themselves: for instance, in kitesurfing the introduction of hydrofoils requires the development of rescue craft that are at least as fast. Vehicles that are, in fact, likely to be equipped with the same technology.
It is rehabilitation that interests me the most: injured participants are always keen to get back into their sports quickly, and full physical and psychological recovery is vital before returning to extreme sports.
1 / In approaching these sports, bear in mind the huge differences that exist between the myriad of styles and sub-disciplines needs. Don’t just lump them all together.
2 / Remember that extreme sports don’t just involve serious injury. Indeed, speed-induced vibration might be a key factor in chronic degenerative joint diseases. Since technique is often more important than pure physical performance, many extreme sports can be practiced – at quite a high level – by people who are older than “traditional sportspersons”. This is a tremendous advantage, but also means that “overuse” pathologies take on greater relevance.
Extreme sports have never been so popular, so the time is ripe for medicine to become more involved. It is important to consider that extreme sports are complex activities and require a multidisciplinary approach.
Dr Feletti co-founded the international ExtremeSportMed association. Their goal is to organise a PhD-level summer school (Extreme Sports Medicine & Engineering). The first edition is expected to be held in 2017, on the shores of Lake Como in the foothills of the Italian Alps, a natural setting for several extreme sports. An international conference is also being planned for 2018. If anyone feels like getting involved they’re warmly invited to join by filling out the form on their website and by joining the Facebook group.
He has also written a book, Extreme Sports Medicine, which is available in hard and electronic formats.
If you’re the type of person that enjoys travel and working in fast-paced and unpredictable environments then this career path might be perfect for you. Sports Medics possess a very high skill level as well as the ability to deal with any situation thrown their way. That’s why we are dedicated to delivering better equipped Paramedics to the industry.
To get a job in this industry we recommend completing either the HLT41115 – Certificate IV in Health Care or HLT51015 – Diploma of Paramedical Science. Both of these qualifications provide a flexible and affordable pathway to becoming an Extreme Sports Medic.
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For more information on how to get a start in the industry or to enquire about paramedic training please call (07) 5520 2522.