Glasgow 2014 needs you
“I think this is a once in a lifetime opportunity, a chance to get involved in something that is really special. I don’t think many dentists will see anything quite like this again in their working careers.”
As Deputy Chief Dental Officer at the Scottish Government, Tom Ferris is not a man prone to hyperbole, but it is clear that he is genuinely excited by his role as organiser of the dental recruitment at the Glasgow Games.
He explained that the volunteering roles at the event will be incredibly varied. He said: “At the actual venues it will be reacting to what is happening and that is about dealing with trauma, avulsion and facial injuries, basically anything that comes our way. Follow up care will be delivered, either through A&E or if it is just a dentist that is needed, it will be dealt with in the polyclinic the next day or the days thereafter.
“There is also an oral health message that we want to get across to athletes from around the world who have got different experiences in terms of access to services, the level of oral health and so on.”
The registration process for volunteering at the Games officially opens in mid-January but planning for the dental facilities and services is already well under way. Tom explained that it has been a steep, but interesting learning curve.
“It is a matter of getting as much information from people who have had similar experiences before and trying to learn from them to make as best a fist of it as we can.”
To this end, Tom has been in touch with Glasgow dentist Mike Blackie who was the only Scottish dental volunteer down at the London Olympics in the summer. Glasgow graduate Mike, who is the principal dentist at The Park Practice in the west end, worked at the ExCel Arena during the Games.
He said: “I had assumed I would just be working at the polyclinic seeing athletes and their entourage every day. But after I got the offer I soon realised that I was going to be involved with all the combat sports, so it tallied up with all my sporting experience. I have had various trauma cases over the years as a result of dealing with some the Glasgow Warriors rugby team.”
The ExCel Arena was home to the boxing, taekwondo, judo, fencing and wrestling but apart from a couple of Iranian wrestlers who had bits of their teeth knocked out and some split lips from an energetic taekwondo demonstration, Mike said the injuries were, thankfully, few and far between.
He said: “There was one interesting dental case involving a Greek fencer who had a couple of crowns knocked out.
“She had lunged forward and her mask had clattered into her teeth. She actually had the marks of her mask on her teeth.”
Mike revealed that one of the most touching moments of the Games was not related to the sporting action. He was fortunate enough to be in the same team as Andrew Hartle, an intensive care consultant who treated many of the victims of the 7/7 bombings in London.
He said: “It was a humbling experience just being around him. He is a fantastic guy, very calm and nothing seemed to bother him.”
Looking forward to Glasgow, Mike is keen to get involved again. He said: “I think it’s going to be great, I’m sure there will be no shortage of people offering their time.”
And he is encouraging as many dental professionals as possible to get involved and help make Glasgow 2014 an event to remember.
He said: “I think, if you are a general practitioner, you tend work away in your own practice every day and this is a great chance for a whole new experience being involved in a massive event with so many interesting people who are from different professional walks of life.
“I met so many fantastic people and will keep in touch with many of them. You make good contacts, you learn a lot and, if you have a sporting interest, combining that with your professional abilities is a fantastic opportunity.”
Visit volunteer.glasgow2014.com to complete an application form to volunteer at Glasgow 2014.