18MAR

Riders give insight to aid Epic preparations

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The Absa Cape Epic kicked off with the Prologue at the University of Cape Town, with a 20km route touching Table Mountain and bringing the riders back down. As the official medical service provider for the Absa Cape Epic and many other world class events, Mediclinic was on site to support these riders on the first day of the 8 day event.
In order to ensure that Mediclinic was prepared for this event, they hves expanded the health screening questionnaire that forms part of the race registration process. Race doctor Jann Killops provides insight as to why riders are being asked for a full race history before key events.

“The Absa Cape Epic is a world class event, it is an extreme event and with 650 teams competing at the top level, our medical team needs to be prepared,” says Dr Killops. “The race questionnaire provides a full spectrum of questions regarding health history and training programme to understand the risk factors for an athlete across all organ systems.”

Mediclinic developed the questionnaire with the help of Prof Martin Schwellnus and the Sports, Exercise, Medicine and Lifestyle Research Institute at the University of Pretoria. The questionnaire assists clinicians to look at the event population, see what affects them on race day and determine whether there’s anything we can do to prevent it.

There is no pass or fail to the questionnaire provided before the event. Further details may be required or clinical history may be requested to ensure that athletes’ history is complete. An algorithm is used across the data to identify any high risk riders and then to move to a one-on-one interaction.

“Based on the cyclists’ answers the Mediclinic Events team also provide personalised advice through these one-on-one conversations with the athletes. For instance, if you have indicated that you have a particular medical history the team will contact you for more information to ensure that we are prepared,” explains Jann, “Our aim is not to take a rider out of the race but just understand their medical history and have this on hand during the race. We have found that riders provide a very strong history that details their conditions quite accurately, allowing us to be more efficient in keeping the riders healthy through the event.”

Always a key area for Mediclinic is the aspect of security around medical information. The responses to the questionnaire are hosted by Mediclinic and stored alongside other clinical data. The organisation adheres to the highest standards of compliance detailed in both European and South African legislation (Protection of Personal Information Act or POPI). The Absa Cape Epic has also laid out strict guidelines that Mediclinic along with other service providers adhere to, ensuring the riders’ information remains secure.

“Apart from helping us prepare for the event, there is an additional benefit to having this information,” explains Dr Killops “Riders are asked for consent to utilise the data for research purposes, enabling us to analyse the event as a whole and make it safer.”

Dr Killops elaborates, “While these surveys are not compulsory – we encourage everybody to help us be medically prepared for such a large scale multi-stage event. We’ve had patients with serious life-threatening issues on previous races and if it weren’t for the information they provided in the questionnaire, we wouldn’t have had the easily accessible background information to treat them as efficiently. The more information we have, the better we can assist our riders.”

“The Absa Cape Epic is one of the world’s most recognised MTB stage races and this questionnaire will allow us to provide the best clinical expertise in line with this world class event,” concludes Dr Jann Killops.

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