I’m incredibly honoured to be able to offer surgical support to the Commonwealth Games, a role which ensures that not only do I get ringside seats at one of the world’s great sporting events but I also get to patch up any of the top stars who fall by the wayside.
I’ll be seeing a few old friends in Glasgow – not least the wrestling twins from Campbeltown, Donna and Fiona Robertson. I operated on both of these formidable veterans when they were Commonwealth Games judo medallists, repairing the cruciate ligament in the same knee for both sisters. It says much for the durability of these fortysomethings that they are both rated a good bet for medals in their home Games.
Another old client in whose form I’ll be taking a particular interest is Scotland netball shooter Gemma Sole, the daughter of Scotland and British Lions rugby legend David Sole. Twenty-three year old Gemma is the first elite athlete who has had an ACL knee reconstruction using Internal Brace technology who has subsequently gone on to return to top-level competition (another patient, British bobsleigh skipper John Jackson, also did a remarkable Lazarus act to compete in the Winter Olympics, but that was after we used an Internal Brace to reconstruct his Achille’s). I always get a particularly huge sense of satisfaction seeing former patients able to compete at any level, but Gemma competing at such an elite level so soon after her Internal Brace repair, especially when I know how desperate she was to appear at these Games, is enough to bring a lump to any throat.
Above: Ibrox Stadium transformed into a Rugby pitch ready to host the Rugby Sevens competition at the Games
Sadly, one athlete who not even an Internal Brace could get back in time to compete in Glasgow was James Austin. The Olympic and Commonwealth judoka ruptured his cruciate ligament three weeks ago and was so desperate to feature that he tried to battle on, only for the knee to quickly give way. The Internal Brace can really assist Mother Nature, but even the new IB technique can’t accelerate recovery to that degree. However, when it had finally sunk in that James would miss these Games – and I can’t imagine how hard that realisation must have been for him – we were able to get on and repair his knee. Using the Internal Brace, we got a great result and James has now refocused on the Olympics. I wish him well and will report on his progress in the months and years to come.
For now, however, the Games kicked off in incredible style at Celtic Park last night, and now we’re into the competition in earnest – the beginning of three amazing months for Scotland’s athletes, and luckily for me too!