"We cannot practise magic - we just can prevent it"
THE WEDNESDAY COLUMN
2001-02-07The medical team of the BERLIN-MARATHON presents itself:
This slogan, well known from TV, makes you smile. Of course instead of "cheap" we say "prevent".
Headlines in newspapers, like a couple of years ago, "Death participates in the marathon", we took seriously, despite the loud style. The BERLIN- MARATHON in "Emergency Room" or "Doctors on a mission"? No, the medicine of the BERLIN- MARATHON doesn want to be a rescuer. Death is something natural you can meet everywhere, even in a marathon. But there you will have a much bigger chance to find doctors, first aid men and other supportive people!!! This is part of a job that has to be planned and guaranteed. The German Red Cross, doctors and the BERLIN- MARATHON have their first meetings 9 months before the big event to plan everything necessary and possible.
There are just a few people who know of the work that is done in the background. With walki- talkis, mobile phones or telephones, running, driving or sitting, specialists are in various places in Berlin during the MARATHON. All of them hoping that every runner is well prepared for the event. This is our biggest concern. There is a growing number of "reasonable people", but we still can not be satisfied. The day of the race begins with the hope, that statistics will fail and instead of deaths we will only have to deal with minor injuries. But "hope" always means "not planable". At this point only fast and professional help by the accident and emergency team can help.
Our goal is not only to help in case of a serious incident, but first of all we are interested in prevention, and we have a number of different offers. Compliments to the BERLIN-MARATHON, which has an outstanding position worldwide at this point. Our concept consists of offering information and service. We have the offers and we hope to reach the sensible runner, or the people, who want to become runners, to use our service.
Thus are platforms for runners with well-known references throughout the whole year, they talk about the latest findings of medicine and sports, the check- up, the investigation of the fitness level, or the treatment of specific injuries and problems.
Every year we wonder about runners coming to our information booth at the marathon fair, telling us about little or bigger problems, injuries etc. sometimes existing for a couple of months, and hoping to get fast aid and help to finish the race. This is part of our job- but still we say: "We can practise magic, we just can prevent it".
Our goal is very clear: You shall have a limited cardiac and health risk during the run, guaranteed by the pre-race check-up. This means to be responsible for yourself, not to restrict. Performance doesn tell anything about your health. Often the problematic people are the ones that try to run faster than 3:30 and don feel or just ignore physical warnings. These are the runners we worry about. Age and risk don come together. Even 27 year-old people are known to have cardiac infarction, hypertension or other pathologies.
To find solutions for all these problems, we offer a special marathon camp, where beginners will have a medical support throughout the whole year. For individualists or members of running groups we recommend a special check-up once a year. This gives you a whole lot of safety - and also for us, as the responsible organizers. The special centers in Berlin can provide this. But one day before the race its to late!
Often we can help within a short time - then we are the "White gods" or "Magicians". Most of the time we can only work preventive and try to warn - then we are the "Pessimists". What we want to be are the "Realists".
Dr. Willi Heepe
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