Have you ever wondered where athletes go when they get hurt at the Olympics? This year, they have a new, state-of-the-art polyclinic built especially for them. The clinic, which cost approximately $26.5 million to build, houses the best in medical technology and sports medicine.
Some of the rooms in the 54,000 square foot clinic looks straight out of a sci-fi movie. There are huge MRIs that scan body parts then projects the images right onto the wall in stunning detail. They have an ultrasound machine so precise that it can detect even the slightest tear in the Achilles tendon. If an athlete needs an X-ray, their cutting-edge machine can take multiple high resolution pictures of different parts of the entire body within seconds.
For all that modern technology, staff at the clinic estimate that 95 percent of their emergency services will be for treating simple musculoskeletal injuries like sprains. However, they are prepared for any serious injury or ailment that may affect the tens of thousands of athletes, trainers, and organizers of the games. A huge doping control station is located next to the clinic, and the facility also houses a medical dispensary free of cost for all athletes. Four thousand volunteers are working within the clinic to provide 24-hour care, treating an estimated two hundred athletes per day.
All of this behind-the-scenes hoopla is a necessary part of the Games because of several factors. Working with athletes to get them the best care may mean the difference between a gold and a silver medal. This means the clinic must have the best physicians, medicines, and medical devices all in one place ready to treat whatever an athlete presents with. With the eyes of the world on them, they are under tremendous stress and need a facility and doctors that can give them the highest care possible to perform their absolute best.
Another important detail of the clinic is its efficiency. Coordinating services within the clinic must be seamless to provide as little distraction to the athletes as possible. These all-stars won’t have time wasted in waiting rooms or miscommunications between doctors to add to their anxieties. The London Polyclinic has electronic access to all athletes’ medical records, which will streamline the process of getting vital information about their conditions to all doctors helping with their case.
After the Games, the clinic will be converted to a hospital for local residents. Organizers see it as one of the best legacies of these Olympic Games, long after the athletes have gone home. To see a virtual tour of the London facilities, go here.