The 7th PNG Games were held in Kimbe, West New Britain, Papua New Guinea recently.
Ellie and Ashley, nurses from England and Canada, respectively, were on hand as part of medical team from the local hospital to provide medical attention to all the athletes who had traveled from across PNG to attend the biggest sporting event in the country.
With medics in attendance at all the events, Ellie and Ashley were primarily stationed at track and field. Other categories of competition included boxing, rugby, soccer, volleyball, netball, basketball and field hockey.
The first week of the track and field events were for the para-athletes, which saw athletes with varying levels of disabilities race for their provinces. The second week was for able bodied athletes.
During the races, all the medics, including Ellie and Ashley, would watch from the sidelines until assistance was needed. Once someone needed medical attention, they would run onto the track or wait until after the race was completed to attend to the competitors.
Muscle cramping was common as most athletes warmed up in the morning and then waited around for their race. With not drinking enough water, many would make it half way around the track before cramping would set in and they would be in a significant amount of pain.
Some competitors would pass out due to heat exhaustion as the hot weather got to them while others showed up to the medical area with torn up feet from running bare foot or in just their socks on the hard track.
The athletes with Down syndrome were particularly well loved and admired as they really knew how to get the crowd cheering with their dance moves.
It was great to see the inclusion of people with disabilities who normally feel isolated because of the lack of understanding.
Through all of this, there was a real sense of pride from the Papua New Guineas in their country and from the athletes participating.
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