UAE: This Emirati doctor turns athletes of determination into global champions

Dr Alrahoomi carefully examines athletes' medical histories, past injuries, and necessary treatments, including a thorough assessment of their medications

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Ashwani Kumar

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Dr Abdulla Mohammad Alrahoomi with the UAE's athletes of determination. Photos: Supplied
Dr Abdulla Mohammad Alrahoomi with the UAE's athletes of determination. Photos: Supplied

Published: Thu 30 Nov 2023, 3:11 PM

Dr Abdulla Mohammad Alrahoomi has been playing a pivotal role in safeguarding the health and well-being of the UAE's athletes of determination, some of whom have proven their mettle at the recent 4th Asian Para Games in China.

In an exceptional performance, the UAE athletes clinched 11 medals – four gold, four silver, and three bronze, and showed prowess in athletics, powerlifting, archery, cycling, shooting, boccia, badminton, and judo. Much to the pride of the athletes and the nation, the UAE delegation secured the top position among Arab nations – a testament to their dedication and Dr Alrahoomi's expertise in looking after their health.

Dr Alrahoomi acquired his extensive expertise as a consultant in sports medicine, physical medicine, and rehabilitation at M42's Healthpoint in Abu Dhabi, as well as through his residency and fellowship training, where he collaborated with Olympic and Paralympic teams. He accompanied the UAE delegation at the Asian Para Games and Asian Games as the chief medical officer.

Dr Alrahoomi places a strong emphasis on the importance of injury prevention to avoid complications.
Dr Alrahoomi places a strong emphasis on the importance of injury prevention to avoid complications.

Sharing his experience and methodology, Dr Alrahoomi told Khaleej Times that he started working as the chief medical officer even before the games began. He meticulously reviews the athletes’ medical histories, past injuries, and required medical treatments, including a comprehensive assessment of their medications.

Dr Alrahoomi noted that transitioning to treating athletes in Para Games presented “unique challenges”.

Dr Alrahoomi started working as the chief medical officer even before the games began
Dr Alrahoomi started working as the chief medical officer even before the games began

Para Games athletes face both medical conditions and physical disabilities, such as spinal cord injuries, cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury, stroke, amputations, skeletal dysplasia, osteogenesis imperfect, growth hormone dysfunction, multiple sclerosis, visual impairments, and many other conditions.

“This creates a challenge on its own because every medical condition carries certain risks and complications, and it is crucial to anticipate the medical management before and during the games to ensure the athletes’ safety,” Dr Alrahoomi said.

Dr Alrahoomi tailored health and well-being considerations to each athlete’s specific pathology.
Dr Alrahoomi tailored health and well-being considerations to each athlete’s specific pathology.

Dual expertise is an asset

Dr Alrahoomi emphasised the need to screen for specific medical diagnoses and pathologies associated with the spectrum of disabilities to mitigate injury during the competition. His dual expertise in sports, physical medicine, and rehabilitation enables him to tackle these challenges effectively.

In overseeing the UAE delegation, Dr Alrahoomi tailored health and well-being considerations to each athlete’s specific pathology.

“We have to take every single pathology on its own and analyse the necessity of certain requirements.”

He identified challenges, medications, and adaptations required to ensure the athletes’ independence and ability to perform daily activities. This includes providing the necessary interventions and support for athletes who may not be fully independent. The focus is on creating a friendly and accommodating environment that addresses physical health and unique psychological and dietary needs.

Ensuring effective coordination among athletes, clinical staff, and administrative personnel is paramount for delivering the best treatment and receiving the best outcomes.

Dr Alrahoomi highlighted the importance of medical awareness, understanding athletes’ limitations, and providing ongoing education to coaches and trainers.

“Caring for athletes goes beyond just physical training. It involves offering psychological support, addressing dietary needs, and creating a welcoming environment. This holistic approach relies on open communication and strong teamwork to ensure no athlete is overlooked or left behind.”

Timely intervention helps

Dr Alrahoomi strongly emphasises the importance of injury prevention to avoid complications. Timely intervention, whether medical or rehabilitation-based, has led to successful outcomes and allowed athletes to return to competition or rapidly regain their baseline of independence.

“Our experience has shown that promptly addressing the injury is key to getting the athlete back on track. There are success stories from the UAE team where early intervention led to podium-worthy achievements,” added Dr Alrahoomi, the vice president of the National Olympic Medical Committee and an executive member of the Asian Federation of Sports Medicine (AFSM).

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