The 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games being held in Toronto this summer will be one of the biggest international events the city has ever hosted.
By Mari-Len De
The 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games being held in Toronto this summer will be one of the biggest international events the city has ever hosted. Nearly 7,000 athletes from 41 countries will be participating in a combined total of 51 sporting events between the Pan Am and Parapan Am Games.
When everything is said and done, the ultimate winners in an event of this magnitude are not the athletes or the coaches or the event executives. The ultimate winners are the 20,000 or so unpaid volunteers who took time away from their normal routine – their jobs, their schools, their families – to be part of this sporting history. They keep the games rolling and the athletes playing.
A significant part of those thousands of volunteers are the health-care practitioners who are volunteering their precious time – away from their practices and their patients – to make sure the athletes, regardless of the country they represent or the sport they play, are given appropriate care when they need it so they can play at their optimum level.
Dozens of massage therapy practitioners are volunteering for the Pan Am/Parapan Am Games, providing much-required massage treatments for the athletes before, during and after the games. It is such an excellent opportunity to showcase the value of massage for the body’s maximum performance.
In writing the cover story for Summer issue of Massage Therapy Canada, I had the privilege of speaking to some of the RMTs volunteering at the Games. To them, being a part of such a major sporting event is an opportunity that not only satisfies them personally but professionally as well. The opportunity to work with and learn from elite athletes alongside other health-care practitioners in a multidisciplinary environment is just priceless.
Wanda Candolini, one of the volunteer sports massage therapists, put it best: “I’m put around people that are there because their passion and their commitment to athletes are what brought them there, not because they need to make a buck. So, there’s no ego in the room.”
This summer, the world’s best athletes are giving the greatest performance of their careers. At the same time, massage therapists are helping shape and galvanize the future of the profession as a vital player in the health of the sporting world.