Podiatry lecturer puts best foot forward at Commonwealth Games

Podiatry Lecturer Mandy Abbott will spend 10 days at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham helping to improve the foot health of thousands of elite athletes, particularly from poorer countries.

She volunteered to join a team of health professionals including doctors, nurses and physiotherapists and podiatrists in the athletes’ village medical centre.

Mandy, who is based in Glasgow Caledonian University’s Department of Podiatry and Radiography, said: “I will be promoting GCU throughout the Games through social media and telling everyone how great it is because the University has always supported my attendance at these types of events.

“I am going bring back everything I learn from this event to use in my teaching. I teach sports podiatry so it’s a really valuable experience to share with the students, particularly the intracultural issues.

“At these types of events, we get a lot of athletes from poorer countries attending who don’t have access to medical services at home, so when they visit us in the medical centre it’s probably the first time they’ve ever seen a podiatrist.

“A lot of the teams like Scotland and England bring their own medical teams with them but there’s a lot of countries that don’t have that, so we are there to support them. Although no team takes a podiatrist so I’ll be supporting all the athletes.

“Helping out at events like this, particularly giving professional medical services to those in poorer countries, really feeds into the University for the Common Good ethos and a number of UN Sustainable Development Goals that are at the heart of our Strategy 2030 – in particular Goal 3 – good health and wellbeing, and Goal 10 – reduced inequalities.”

Mandy is renowned for helping out at key sporting events, in particular the Special Olympics, and taking her students along for a life-changing experience.

She took two third-year students out to Abu Dhabi for the Special Olympics World Summer Games in 2019.

Since 2004, Mandy has been involved in the national and world games, and gives students the chance of a lifetime to travel all over the UK and the world to take part in foot screening and health promotion of athletes with intellectual disabilities.

Mandy added: “Unfortunately I couldn’t take any students with me this time to the Commonwealth Games unlike previous years due to strict regulations surrounding the elite athletes but I will bring back everything I learn and share it with them.”

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