Real medical dramas played out in bowels of stadium

PUBLISHED : Monday, 02 April, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 02 April, 2007, 12:00am

In the hit American hospital drama ER the medical staff are played by handsome actors like George Clooney.

The windowless Sevens' emergency room (ER) located in the bowels of Hong Stadium is no different - but the dedicated medical team also get to treat some of the hunkiest patients on the planet.

Is that why the 26-strong team of nurses, doctors and physiotherapists - most of whom are females - year after year to offer their healing hands to the constant stream of battered but otherwise finely sculptured male bodies?

'Oh, I don't know about that,' said chief medical co-ordinator Lucy Clarke with a giggle. Together with colleague Ken Wu, Clarke was tasked with ensuring all the players received the best immediate treatment over the tournament.

'We're all specialised in sports injury but of course have training in all medical emergency situations,' said Clarke, whose 12th series passed without any major incidents. This year, radiologist Jack Shu arranged the use of a state-of-the-art HK$400,000 ultrasound scanner.

'This is hi-tech and is used by the US military. It allows us to see in great detail any tears or other injuries to muscles and tendons. The players are getting the best treatment and diagnoses available - and it's all given immediately,' said Shu, who like his colleague, Wu, works at Queen Elizabeth II hospital.

For all the hi-tech wizardry used to detect a hamstring or major trauma, diplomacy to soothe the players' delicate psyche is paramount. 'We're recognised for having the best ER in the series,' said Clarke.

'But we can only diagnose and then advise. Athletes are very different to ordinary patients and have a higher pain threshold.

'We have to be very diplomatic whenever we think an injury is too serious for a player to continue. But the final decision is down to the team coaches. Some of the injuries are actually carry-ons from previous tournaments,' she added as the strapping Fijian Mosese Volavola received treatment for a neck injury from physiotherapist Janice Morton.

'He picked that up injury in Dubai,' said Clarke. 'The teams look forward to Hong Kong because they know they can diagnose and treat niggling injuries once they arrive.'