Sport institute to provide lasting Olympic legacy 

09/01/2012 00:00 

Elite athletes, ‘weekend warriors’ and patients whose condition would benefit from an exercise regime will all be treated under the same roof at the new UCLH/UCL Institute of Sport, Exercise and Health which will be a lasting legacy from the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games.

This week the institute was awarded funding of £10 million by the Department of Health to develop a hub of clinical and research expertise to: increase exercise in the community; develop strategies to prevent diseases related to inactivity; and prevent, diagnose and manage injuries for both professional and amateur athletes.

The money will be used to create a new state-of-the-art building in the heart of London which will include imaging, an outpatients area and teaching and research facilities.

The Institute, is a collaboration between University College London Hospitals (UCLH), UCL, the British Olympic Association, English Institute of Sport and private hospital group HCA who will run some private clinics from the building.

Sir Robert Naylor, UCLH chief executive, welcomed the new funding as part of a national partnership with complementary facilities in Sheffield and Loughborough creating a National Sports and Exercise Medicine Centre of Excellence.

He said: "University College Hospital has already been designated as one of three hospitals for the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games and we are keen to play our part in what promises to be an extraordinary year.

"We have assembled a team of experts in sports and exercise health which will form the backbone of a lasting Olympic legacy for professional and amateur sportsmen and women in London and beyond."

The Institute will be led by UCLH orthopaedic surgeon Professor Fares Haddad. He said: "This institute will probably be the most impressive and sustained health legacy from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

"It will bring together clinical and academic expertise which will not only help our athletes win medals but help treat ‘weekend warriors’ who pick up sporting injuries.

"We will also have a role in promoting the benefits of exercise to our patients. So regardless of whether you are a cancer patient, a respiratory patient, a cardiac patient or a diabetic patient, if we can introduce exercise into your treatment programme, you will benefit. People talk a great deal about obesity as a great problem affecting society but it’s actually inactivity that is the biggest threat to our well-being."

Olympic gold medallist Dr Richard Budgett – part of the coxed-four who rowed to glory with Sir Steve Redgrave at the 1984 Games in Los Angeles – is one of four consultant sport and exercise physicians who will work at the institute.

Dr Mike Loosemore and Dr Richard Budgett


Richard, now chief medical officer for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, works alongside Dr Mike Loosemore, team doctor for the Great Britain Olympic boxing and fencing teams and the chief medical officer for the England Commonwealth Games team, and Eleanor Tillett and Courtney Kipps.

Richard said: "The development of sport and exercise medicine has been so important to our elite athletes. The challenge is to develop that for everybody, using the huge potential of exercise as a therapeutic tool. UCLH and UCL are driving forward in helping London to fulfil the 2012 bid commitment of creating a lasting legacy in sport and exercise medicine."

Announcing £30 million of funding to create one national centre across the three sites, health secretary Andrew Lansely said: "Hosting the Olympics is a once in a life-time opportunity for Britain and it provides a great opportunity for the NHS too.

"I am pleased to commit £30 million funding for the first ever National Sport and Exercise Medicine Centre of Excellence for England. This will not only help get more people active but it will keep them active too.

"Being fit and active offers huge health benefit. It is crucial we encourage as many people as possible to be more active more often. We also need to help people recover from injuries quickly so they can stay active.

"The Centre will share research findings and best practice with the entire NHS so that the whole country benefits. This will ensure we achieve a real Olympic legacy in the health service."

Researchers at the institute also receive support from the UCLH/UCL National Institute for Health Research Biomedical Research Centre.

 

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