The FACEMs and trainees are working at all levels at the event, involved in preparing for action long before the start of the Games on April 4, and as competition progresses, ready to tackle all manner of emergencies, right up to the last day on April 15.
“We’re very popular, highly sought-after people because we know the pre-hospital environment,” Dr Bonning says. “We work well with paramedics, nurses as well as police, fire and state emergency services. It’s been a great interaction of hospital and pre-hospital personnel.”
Dr Bonning has been leading a team of 35 doctors, nurses, paramedics, other medical personnel and SES volunteers (over 75 in total) looking after the mountain bikers on the track in Nerang State Forest (the men’s competition was won by New Zealander Sam Gaze; England’s Annie Last took out the women’s event), and the spectators.
He has been on the Gold Coast for a month with the Organising Committee preparing for the event.
“It’s been an invigorating and eye-opening exercise,” Dr Bonning says. “It is great getting out of our comfort zone in hospital emergency departments and dealing with elite athletes as well as spectators.
“It’s just a massive organisation, the logistics are enormous, and it has been great to be part of such a successful event.”
Thankfully there were no major emergencies during the men and women’s mountain bike races, with the worst of the injuries being grazes and minor concussions. Dr Bonning was on hand for the only significant fall of the event on a steep part of the course where the team attended a fallen Lesotho rider. As mountain bikers often do, she got up and continued on despite the fall.
Medical management and coordination at sporting events is not new to the Waikato Hospital doctor, with Dr Bonning working at the Mountain Bike World Championships in Rotorua some years ago. He is also involved with New Zealand rugby as a match doctor for all premier and test rugby.
“Mountain biking, emergency medicine, pre-hospital medicine – these are my passions, and events like the Commonwealth Games combine the lot,” Dr Bonning says.
“Being involved with elite sportspeople and very skilled and dedicated paramedical and medical professionals, it’s just been a wonderful experience.”