physio background photo
The people with
the magic hands

More than a tension reliever.

The physiotherapists treat competitors, soldiers and “Family and Friends“ members at the INVICTUS GAMES DÜSSELDORF 2023 presented by Boeing. Their skills are in demand. 

Sometimes your back hurts, sometimes it’s the shoulders and other times the neck. Athletes complain about muscular problems or need some tape. Volunteer soldiers have pain in their calves and legs from standing for long periods. The skills of physiotherapists are in high demand. Some days these trained volunteers treat more than 100 people at the Invictus Games.

A young woman has just left the treatment room. “I don’t know what my therapist did, but I no longer have pain in my shoulder,” she says happily. “The people here have magic hands.”

The volunteers who lend a hand in the truest sense of the word are experiencing gratitude like this in abundance these days. The “patients“ are happy to wait their turn. Stay calm, one at a time, everyone will be helped. “We don’t have a timetable here. That’s why we can give our patients the time that they need,“ explains Frank-Ringo Schrader, who works as a shift leader.

Frank-Ringo served in the Bundeswehr. From 1999 to 2014 he was an active soldier, now he is a reservist. After his time in service he trained as a physiotherapist. He has had his own practice in Speyer for the last year-and-a-half. At the Bundeswehr sports school in Warendorf, where he occasionally works as a physio, he heard about the Invictus Games and signed up as a volunteer.

“During my service, I trained soldiers for foreign missions. In my work as a physiotherapist I often came in contact with wounded soldiers,“ he says. He knows the problems and wants to help. His work place is above the tribune with a view of the arena. So he also gets to feel the atmosphere.

A male and a female physio sit overlooking the arena

“We are also on site for the various sports and can help quickly when needed,“ he explains. There is also space in a specially-designated container at the bottom of Level 0 of the MERKUR SPIEL-ARENA. There are seven volunteers each on both the early and late shifts.

Physio Elisa graduated five years ago. The 26-year-old also completed training as an orthopedic technician. She works in a hospital outpatient clinic. “I can gain new experiences in both areas here at the Invictus Games,“ she says. “The conversations I have here and the exchanges with colleagues from across Germany are extremely valuable.“

Her work is varied. It’s also beneficial “that we don’t have to look at the clock, as is usual for us in everyday work,“ Elisa adds. “We can give the athletes the time and attention needed to help ease their muscles.“

Author: Monika Hartjes