Right Mind; Appropriate Perception

Artistic impression of the knee joint, inlcuding the often overlooked Popliteus Muscle crossing the back of the knee

Episodic or lifelong knee pain is increasingly familiar to a greater number of people. Amongst young adults, the most common pain is of the lower fraction, just below the patella (knee cap), and towards the inner side of the knee. Clinically this is referred to as Prepatellar Bursitis, common diagnoses are; patella tendonitis, Osgood-shlatter disease, chondromalacia patellae or even plica syndrome.

Yet it is comforting to recognize that what manifested the same in its clinical stage is often treated the same, and non-invasively; surgery is only sponsored in the more extreme cases, and only when propped up with an initial exploratory arthroscopy. The common non-invasive treatment is referred to as RICE; Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation.

The proprioceptive idiom is a basic instrument of injury rehabilitation and sports specific training. Though the proprioceptive organ in humans still remains unsolved, many are in agreement that the phenomenon is endorsed at all levels and all body systems; from our skin, our respiratory system, to our eyes; when one fails, others pick up the slack.

With the London Olympics we saw the rise in the popularity of blue sports tape amongst the athletes. While there are many premade support equipments for knee pain like Prepatellar Bursitis, i.e. patella straps or jumpers knee strap, for my part at least, sports tapping has proved more beneficial.

Sports tape not only allows you to determine the degree and specificity of support given, a roll of tape allows you to cater for any other knee, ankle, hip or back problems suffered. All you need is a good quality sports tape, perhaps some under wrap and additional support tape, though this is not always necessary, coupled with an educational video provided by the familiar public video channel.

Taping provides greater skin contact than many premade supports, with the better quality tapes providing new natural movement; this increases our propreoceptive response and as such gives us a greater awareness of our knee and its weaknesses. It is important to note however that like with standard plasters some people may have a reaction to the tapes adhesive.

The Latin hybrid; propreoception, commonly dubbed as ‘own’s one’, owes an embellished footnote to its literate architect, as we see the fruits of decade’s worth of research coming to the fore, alongside the leaps in kinaesthetic understanding; specifically the sense model of body motion.


Bear, M.F. Connors, B.W. Paradiso, M.A. (2007) Neuroscience, Exploring the Brain, 3rd Edition. Lippincott Williams and Wilkins, USA. Chapter 13; p438















The Olympic Legacy

They hope that the London 2012 games will have ‘inspired a generation,’ and I do believe that the impact of the games has been much larger than anticipated, and what it has highlighted is that Sport can make a difference. For as long as I can remember subjects such as sport, music and dance have been seen as ‘extra-curricular’. Sure certain schools have a larger focus than others, but at my school you couldn’t even do P.E. GCSE. The real shame is that Sport, music, dance and art can really make a difference as well.

To use my own experience, I was a shy, easily embarrassed kid- with a big voice. I wanted to sing, but to perform was very daunting. However, once I started, my confidence just grew and grew, and now I can not only sing, but perform and talk to an audience, I can think on my feet if things don’t go to plan, and I’m prepared to be silly and not worry, as I have learnt the more I put into something, the more the audience will be on my side. I have worked in business and I have a degree, but I believe I would never have got as far in those areas had I not become a performer.

Similarly, sport teaches not only fitness and nutrition but how to live by rules, make strategy, to focus on a goal, to live within rules and to work in a team. All of these things are vital to society, and yet they are not taught as actively as simultaneous equations. The older generations speak of national service as building character and pride, I believe that sport could make that same difference, if it was available for more people.

The Paralympics are a fine example of how sport has given people that have come through adversity a means of pushing themselves and becoming maybe even more than they had dreamed of. It is inspiring stuff, and not just to the disabled but everybody. Sport gave them purpose and a goal and now they are at the greatest show on earth.

I would certainly like to see a bigger focus on these subjects, as they are as important as the rest of the curriculum. I hope that Lord Coe does make sure that the legacy of the Olympics is to bring sport to more people, and I hope that society remembers how proud we all were to be British and how everyone came together and supported all of our athletes,regardless of race, creed or religion. Sport brought the world together, and put everyone on a level playing field

Image reproduced from amateurboxingscotland.co.uk

Sporting in the Olympic Theatre

Olympic fever appears to have taken over the country, with Britain hosting, and performing astoundingly well, particularly in the cycling events, perhaps even putting cycling on the map as a national sport.

In such economically dark times, a bit of flag-waving patriotism may be just the tonic the country needs; the moral-booster that helps people forget their troubles.

Yet the Games isn’t just sport: it is an Event-with-a-capital-‘E’. It is sport invested with all the pomp and pageantry of which humans are capable, with its opening and closing ceremonies, its media hype and its crowd-pleasing winners. Athletes competing in the Games are not merely sportspeople but performers, playing to a crowd, putting on a show.

It seems, that in spite of the increasing de-formalisation of society, (even David Cameron’s wife opted not to wear at hat to Kate and Wills’ wedding at Westminster Abbey) – we still love the thrill and the glory of a formal event properly staged; the build-up, the presentation, the sheer performativeness of the display. The Olympics, purely and simply, is a three-week long piece of marvellous theatre, with sports commentators continually referring to an athlete’s ‘performance’ in their chosen event. Winning a race is deemed to be ‘a fine performance.’

In terms of its history, the Games is nothing new. It originated from Greece, taking its name from Olympia, the place where it was held. As early as 776B.C. the games took place every four years, although it is conjectured that it had already been established many centuries earlier. Events in these early Olympics were confined to running.

Other events were subsequently assimilated into the Games, such as wrestling and the pentathlon; an event which, in Ancient Greece, consisted of a day’s worth of contests, and included long jump, javelin, discus, a short ‘foot race’ and wrestling.

However, by A.D. 394, the Roman Emperor Theodusuis I, in some kind of personal crusade against the nature religions, abolished the Games, on the grounds that they were too pagan.

The first ‘modern’ Olympic Games was held in 1896, the International Olympic Committee having been founded two years earlier, in 1894. It was held in Athens, the home of the original Games and featured fourteen countries and a total of two hundred and forty-five athletes competed in a total of forty three events.

Of course, there was no television coverage of this first modern Games, only the live experience of seeing the event for oneself. Nevertheless, the Victorians doubtless enjoyed the spectacle in much the same way as we do today, marking it with both an opening and closing ceremony.

The 1896 Games did indeed begin with a grand opening ceremony, held on April 6th and the Panathinaiko Stadium was thronging with around 80,000 spectators, who listened in anticipation as Crown Prince Constantine declared the inaugural Games officially open.

1896 Olympic opening ceremony in Panathinaiko Stadium

Of the fourteen nations that competed in the Games, ten earned medals, the U.S.A. being the nation to earn the most gold medals, while Greece, the host country, won the greatest number of medals overall.

Of course, all the competitors were men, since the founder of the I.O.C., Baron Pierre de Coubertin, declared that to include women would be, ‘impractical, uninteresting, unaesthetic and incorrect.’

In hearty defiance of this stipulation, one woman, Stamata Revithi, did run the marathon course on April 11th, the day after the official race had been run. Revithi finished in around five hours and thirty minutes, and managed to achieve verification for her running time by persuading some witnesses to sign their names as proof of her achievement.

As to the sports themselves, the 1896 Games did not differ much from our modern Games, in terms of the events that were staged. There was Athletics, including a marathon and track running, in which the American, Thomas Burke, won the hundred metre race, finishing with a time of twelve seconds. Burke also won the four hundred metres race, finishing with a time of just over fifty four seconds. No world records were broken, perhaps because not many top athletes had opted to compete.

Interestingly enough, Thomas Burke was one of the first ‘modern’ athletes to crouch down at the start to the race instead of starting from an upright position, a move which confused the jury, who, perplexed, allowed him to start in this way.

Thomas Burke (2nd lane from the left)

In addition the Athletics, there was Gymnastics, Fencing, Shooting, Weightlifting, Tennis, Swimming, Wrestling and of course, Cycling, the track events of which, took place in the then newly constructed Neo Phaliron Velodrome, a building probably not too dissimilar from the London Velodrome, in which our modern cyclists are competing in 2012.

All cycling competitions employed rules created by the International Cycling Association and there was only one road event, a marathon of eighty-seven kilometres, racing from Athens to Marathon.

Frenchman Paul Masson won the track cycling, achieving victory in the one lap time trial, the sprint, as well as the 10,000 metres and Adolf Schmal, an Austrian, won the Marathon, which only two cyclists managed to complete.

Paul Masson

The Olympic Games has subsequently been held every four years ever since, the 1900 Games being held in Paris. The 1948 Games was the first Olympic Games to receive television coverage.

So what is it about sporting events of this magnitude that gets us all fired up? Is it the sport itself, or the media hype surrounding it?

My guess is that, in a world where political correctness has deemed competitiveness a negative thing, people enjoy watching sportsmen and women competing in a friendly, good-natured way, sympathising with the losers, celebrating the winners. At the risk of sounding dreadfully cheesy one might almost say the Games is like life, but with all the boring bits edited out. In other words, it is like a piece of art.

Interest in the Games shows that we still love a good show. The age of pomp and ceremony is not quite dead and the Games is feeding upon our human love of theatre and display, all in the name of some fine performances from our home-grown athletes.

Image reproduced from en.wikipedia.org and listverse.com

Inspire a Generation, You’ve Inspired a Nation

Overcrowding on the underground, lack of security, congestion on our roads due to “games lanes”. All this as the country still deals with the aftermath of the London riots, falling  further into recession and the summer of discontent. Was an Olympic games really what we needed and this precise moment? In fact it was the perfect tonic.

Even the week leading up to the games with G4S security not able to supply enough staff to fulfill their contract and bus drivers willing to strike over bonus payments, hardly an air of optimism of what is described as the “greatest show on earth”. Up steps Slumdog millionaire director Danny Boyle to create an opening ceremony to match that of Beijing, to win over the doubters and show the world that when it comes to the crunch Britain can pull together through times of diffacuilty. The world stood up and took note, London had put on a superb opening ceremony and even the rain held off, well almost. As the Olympic cauldron was lit by the athletes of tomorrow, London 2012 had started.

The Opening Ceremonary

So now attention was turned to the athletes with Team GB looking for a target of 48 medals,one more then Beijing 2008. With a home crowd and a string of top stars surly that was an easy achievement, wasn’t it?. Early Saturday morning and all eyes were focused on the men’s road race. With the dreams of Britain’s Mark Cavendish crossing the finish line at the mall and collecting our first gold medal, unfortunatly it was not your story book ending. With Mark crossing the line in 29th the focus shifted to the women’s road race. Lizzie Armistead grabbing silver and Rebecca Adlington collecting bronze finally Team GB were off and running on the medals table but the Olympics were still not far from controversy. As the new hot topic for the critics to focus on were the empty seats at volleyball basketball and swimming. A situation that Lord Coe was quick to defuse. As Monday and Tuesday passed our gymnastics team shone through as a silver and bronze were added to Great Britain’s medals tally but still where was that illusive gold medal? Were we going to reach 48 medals? Will we have an Olympic champion? The critics knives were sharpening. Then on Wednesday morning double Olympic gold medalist James Cracknell tells Britain “don’t panic, the rowers are here” and how right he was.

So how appropiate that here in london you wait ages for a bus and two come along at once but only this time it was gold medals. Heather Stanning and Helen Glover strike gold in the rowing womans pair  and Bradley Wiggins winning gold in the time trial just two weeks after becoming tour de france champion. Great Britain had started to climb the medals table at a rate of knots but who knew what was just around the corner. Over the wednesday and thursday Team GB had racked up 5 gold medals 4 silver and two bronze. As friday dawned the world was introduced to the Olympic stadium.  The dancers and musicians from the opening ceremonary seemed a distant memory as the track and field athletes took the positions for what some believe is the true reflection of the Olympics and the Team GB poster girl Jessica Ennis was unleashed to the world. As Jessica was producing personall bests to build a lead in the hepthalon, across at the veledrome Britain were showing that when it comes to cycling they are second to none as they collected another two gold medals. It was not only cycling GB were dominant. As gold, silver and bronze were won across the board in rowing, but if the country thought they were on a high from these performances? in honesty this was just the calm before the storm.

Saturday August 4th 2012, this was a day that will go down in British sporting history. This was a day that a tiny little island proved that they could stand on the shoulders of giants and match the world at the very best in sport. This was a day that would unite a nation and got every cynic to applaud. This was a day Great Britain won Six gold medals. Again team GB cleaned up in the rowing in the morning session.  The afternoon belonged to Team GB cyclists but as the evening rolled in and people got comfortable in front of their televisions who knew that they would end up on the edge of the seats and witnessing athletics history. Jessica Ennis on her way to gold sprinting down the home straight to the roar of 80,000 fans in the stadium and no doubt millions more at home.

Forty minutes later an unknown 25 year old British long jumper by the name of Greg Rutherford spurred by the all ready jubilant crowd produced the performance of his life with a jump of 8.31m to win gold and become only the second British long jumper to do so. After five gold medals and a silver as the night drew to a close and track lit up by the thousands of flood lights beaming down on the 10.000m race, one man shone more then ever. If know one knew Mo Farah before they sure know him now. Crossing the line in first place winning gold to cap an amazing night, it did not just end a superb week but help to start a new week for the olympics that changed a nation and one that some generations had never witnessed.

The newspapers were celebrating what Britain had achieved, people had found a new wave of optimism and hope. The doom and gloom of the spending cuts and high price rises had take a backward step. For once the nation had come together and and for people who had no interest in sport were actually finishing work early to get home to watch Team GB in the  event. Even the sun was shining while the Olympics were on. Sports clubs and associations had reported a serge in membership applications and children had now found new role models in the names of Ennis and Wiggins. Had the legacy of London 2012 all ready began before the Olympics all ready finished. Off the back of super Saturday had we all ready started training future olympic champions for rio 2016?. As the Olympics continued so the the medal haul for Great Britain, over the next 8 days Team GB won a further 15 gold medals and included in that was Ben Ainslie who became the greatest ever sailor in Olympic history, Andy Murray who beat old rival Roger Federer in the final and Nicola Adams who became the first ever female Olympic champion boxer. GB added 10 more silvers and 9 bronze medals to give a final total of 65 medals in total with 29 of them being gold. The greatest ever result for Great Britain since the 1908 Olympics and smashing the 19 gold medals won in Beijing. So as quick as it started the Olympics were over, the cauldron was extinguished and the torch handed over to Rio. The 16 days now became memories but memories that a an individual, a nation, a world will never forget. The slogan that the legacy wanted to leave was to “inspire a generation” but instead they inspired a nation and made us all search inside our selves and see what it truly means to be proud to be British. Could Great Britain afford the Olympics in times of austerity? maybe not. Was it worth it? just ask anyone who was in the Olympic stadium or by a TV screen that golden Saturday and they will tell you it was worth every last penny.

Images reproduced from pa wire/press association images