Tokyo Olympics: How UAE physician kept Emirati athletes safe at the Games

Abu Dhabi - Dr Abdulla Alrahoomi ensured the UAE team stayed both Covid-free and in top form.


Rasha Abu Baker

Published: Mon 9 Aug 2021, 5:29 PM

Dr Abdulla Alrahoomi, the treating physician for the UAE delegation at the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics, has called the experience a remarkable one.

“Tokyo made it happen,” he said, adding, “The experience has been extraordinary, regardless of all the limitations due to Covid-19 pandemic.”


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Dr Alrahoomi is the first UAE national to be certified in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation by the European Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and in Sports Medicine by the International Olympic Committee.

He is also Vice President of the UAE’s Medical Olympics Committee and a Consultant Physiatrist and Sports Doctor at Healthpoint, a Mubadala Health Partner.

Dr Alrahoomi had two roles during the Games: treating doctor for the players and delegation and Covid-19 Liaison Officer (CLO).

As the treating doctor, his role involved updating the athletes' medical files and submitting all details to the World Anti-Doping Agency. This was also to disclose whether any therapeutic medications or treatments were being used to treat medical conditions and to ensure they didn’t contradict the agency’s requirements.

Dr Alrahoomi carried out periodic health checks on all athletes before their participation to screen for illnesses and injuries. He was also physically present during trainings and competitions to tend to potential medical issues or injuries that could arise.

“Some common sports injuries during competitions include musculoskeletal injuries in ligaments, muscles, tendons, nerves and bones,” he said.

“Injuries vary according to the sport but most of the injuries encountered in my practice are related to the shoulder, knee and ankle, followed by the wrist and hand and spine.”

He added that there are a number of therapeutic and diagnostic modalities that are being used, such as musculoskeletal ultrasound for the diagnosis of the muscle, tendon, ligament and nerve injuries.

"Recovery modalities after exercise and injuries are also often used and that includes necessary referrals to physical therapy, cryotherapy, acupuncture, and manual therapy,” he said.

As for his role as Covid-19 Liaison Officer, the doctor said his duties entailed ensuring that the whole delegation registered their health status on an online application daily and also submitted saliva samples for Covid-19 testing to the Olympic Committee.

“My role was to ensure that all members of the UAE delegation were healthy and safe during our stay in Japan.”

“In the event of a suspected case, there were certain procedures we would have to follow, but thankfully, there were no suspected cases in our delegation during our time in Tokyo,” he noted.

Dr Alrahoomi also expressed his gratitude to all the players who represented the UAE. "Although we didn’t win any medals, having our players compete was an honour,” he said.

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