It was great to see the recent article in the Vancouver Sun by Gary Kingston on Alpine Canada’s “other” national team – the therapists, physicians, strength and conditioning specialists, psychologists and technicians who day in and day out are available to national team athletes keeping them healthy and physically ready for training and competition. Alpine Canada has one of the most sophisticated Integrated Support Teams (ISTs) in the country with over twenty dedicated practitioners. Support for high performance athletes requires a multi-disciplinary approach and, depending on the sport, typically involves a physiologist, psychologist, biomechanist/performance technologist, sport dietitian, therapists (physiotherapist, athletic therapist and massage therapist), and a physician. ISTs will work regularly with the coaching staff and athletes to ensure that athletes receive world-class care and support for the heavy demands of their training and competitions. The delivery of medical and sport performance services requires continuous communication and integration between the coaches and the team of experts that support the team. The success of the “team behind the team” is their ability to work together in problem solving and striving to find any opportunity that will help their athletes achieve their goals. The approach taken must be athlete centred, well integrated between specialty areas and have the full support of the coaching staff. Alpine Canada’s model is one that other national teams should aspire to.
SportMedBC President & CEO