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Welcome to our new podcast Surgical Goals - Consults with a Sports Surgeon. Professor Mackay and Jennifer Reoch delve into the world of sports injuries

Tackling sudden cardiac arrest in sport – new podcast episode with Dr Jonny Gordon

In the latest episode of our podcast Surgical Goals we chat to the the Scottish FA‘s new National Team Doctor, Dr Jonny Gordon. Jonny has a special interest in sudden cardiac arrest in sport, he answers all our questions about how and why it can happen in seemingly fit and healthy athletes.

When Christian Eriksen collapsed during Denmark’s Euro 2021 opener with Finland, the footballing world watched on in horror before cameras cut away when pitchside medics swung into action to save him. Remarkably Eriksen not only survived his sudden cardiac arrest but is now playing again. Someone who knows a great deal about sudden cardiac arrest in sport is our guest Dr Jonny Gordon, team Doc for the Scottish football squad. Jonny has been responsible for developing further understanding of Sudden Cardiac Death in sport (SCD) and in the training of sports medics in emergency treatment. He has even invented a specialist pitchside treatment kit which has been adopted by FIFA.

Jonny may be a team doc but his ‘day-job’ is as an A&E Consultant in a busy Glasgow hospital and he explains how these roles combine his passion for medicine and sport. Previously team doc at Celtic, he was also Deputy Chief Medical Officer at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games and has for many years worked with a giant of sports medicine, Dr John MacLean.

Everyone has questions about cardiac arrest in sport and Jonny explains why it can happen, even in fit and healthy athletes who have previously been screened. But he also offers invaluable tips on what you can do if someone collapses nearby. How to recognise if it is a heart attack and simple steps you can immediately take to help.

Among the lighter notes, Prof Mackay recalls how the pair first met as members of an unlikely football squad Jennifer wants the lowdown on Scotland’s chances in the World Cup – you heard it here on Surgical Goals!

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Rugby great Chris Paterson – new podcast episode

We were very lucky to be able to chat with rugby legend Chris Paterson for the latest episode of our podcast Surgical Goals. Chris was joined by friend and former Scotland and Lions physio Stuart Barton.

Chris talks about his amazing journey – from a rugby-mad Border’s lad to playing in four World Cups. Throughout his playing career, he suffered remarkably few injuries, although he describes how he dealt with and recovered from two of the most significant ones here.

With their insider knowledge, Stuart and Chris give us an amazing insight into the life of a pro-rugby player and remember the great camaraderie behind the scenes at Murrayfield.

And as if that wasn’t enough the pair had so many tales to tell that we put together a shorter soundbite second episode where Chris chats about everything from handling pressure during a match to how he nearly appeared shirtless at Stuart’s wedding!

The Surgical Goals podcast delves into the world of sports injuries and recoveries and is hosted by Professor Gordon Mackay and Jennifer Reoch.

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New podcast episode – ice-man Sam Blanchet

Having given your all playing rugby at the highest level and then to find you are at a point where injuries are hampering you and affecting your love for the sport what do you do? Retire gracefully or take up a dangerous new sport and aim to be an Olympian? If you are former England 7s, Exeter Chiefs, and Bedford Blues rugby star Sam Blanchet of course you choose the latter option.

When too many injuries, including repeated concussions, saw Sam side-lined one time too often, he lost heart and decided what he needed was an exciting new sporting challenge. After getting in touch with the English Institute of Sport he attended a trials day where he excelled in one sport in particular – bobsleigh.

So, what exactly does it feel like to hurtle down an ice track in a bobsleigh at up to 150mph? Few of us know, or even want to know, but we can all guess that it is not for the faint-hearted. During the switchover of sports, the challenges were immense and Sam confesses that even he found it terrifying in the beginning.

Anyone who knows him though will know that as an elite athlete he has that drive, dedication and cool head required for such top-level sport. It comes as no surprise to hear how he rose to the challenge – taking to the rigorous training schedule and relishing the adventure in the company of his new team-mates.

His rugby background meant he was fast and strong and with nerves of steel he trained hard and became what is known as a brakeman. The brakeman either pushes from the back and puts the brakes on if competing in a two-man sled or pushes from the side handle in a four-man sled. It requires hours of lifting and running training to be at the top level so not surprisingly many bobsleigh team members are former sprinters.

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Sam went on to compete in World Championships, was a reserve athlete at the 2018 Winter Olympics and was on track in 2020/21 for the Beijing Games in Feb 22 when disaster struck. He ruptured his Achilles tendon while competing in St Moritz in Jan 2021. This is a serious injury and Sam knew it was going to leave him struggling to recover in time to make the Games.

On the advice from former Team GB bobsleigh medal winner, John Jackson, who had suffered the same injury, he called Professor Mackay and decided to have the same surgery. When John had his InternalBrace surgery the technique was fairly new but it had offered a unique accelerated recovery rate which saw him rehabbed and competing in the Sochi Olympics in less than 8 months.

Like the absolute professional he is Sam spent all of 2021 rehabbing and pushing his training to the limit to make the team selections for Beijing. In this episode of Surgical Goals he tells Jennifer and Professor Mackay about his journey so far and his hopes for the future.

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