“CMI will ensure that the return to racing will be as safe as possible.”
The Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has influenced significantly the activities of all the FIM Commissions. In the “Commissions Update” series Commission Directors will explain how they have modified their working methods during the extraordinary times and how they foresee the future. In this article the director of the FIM International Medical Commission CMI, Doctor David McManus explains how the CMI has been working during the pandemic and how to ensure that the return to racing will be as safe as possible.
The Coronavirus pandemic has had a very significant effect on the work of the International Medical Commission (CMI) as well as on the commission members, co-ordinator and director.
- The commission members are all doctors from a range of medical specialties including primary care, emergency medicine, orthopaedic and trauma surgery, general surgery, anaesthetics, and intensive care medicine, pathology, sports medicine and emergency planning. As such they found themselves working on the frontline of the pandemic in their clinics, hospitals, emergency departments, intensive care units and ambulances, McManus says.
- While races were postponed or cancelled the commission members were tirelessly working long hours in very difficult circumstances wearing full personal protective equipment to care for those suffering from COVID-19 as well as providing medical care for their patients with other non COVID-19 related illness and injury. The impact on them, their colleagues, families and patients cannot be understated.
The pandemic has also impacted on the work of the CMI as a commission.
- Chief Medical Officer (CMO) seminars and medical team training seminars have had to be postponed with extensions to CMO and Medical Intervention Team (MIT) Licenses being agreed. The first joint meeting of the FIM and FIA Medical Commissions was scheduled for the beginning of October, but given the ongoing work commitments of the doctors, travel restrictions and social distancing requirements this has now been postponed. Due to the changes to the race calendars, which now extend to much later in the year the next meeting of the CMI has now been postponed to late November or early December and will most likely be held on-line rather than in person.
Despite the absence of races the commission members have also been working to provide advice to their National Federations, event organisers and promoters regarding planning for the return to racing. They have also been providing advice to riders regarding fitness to return to racing in the current situation and particularly following illness.
- Several of the doctors have been actively involved in the development of COVID-19 protocols in preparation for the return to racing in collaboration with our FIM partners such as promoters, organisers and other federations including the FIA. This has included MotoGP, WSBK, and SGP as well as providing technical advice and guidance in other disciplines.
- Behind the scenes other work has also been ongoing including consideration of Therapeutic Use Exemptions from riders, a re-draft of the Anti-doping Code for 2021 to reflect the new WADA Rules. Work has also continued regarding the introduction of on-line learning, on-line seminars, an on-line medical database as well as other changes to the medical code regarding minimum medical requirements for events, standards of medical fitness and other amendments to the Medical Code.
The current situation has led to changes to the medical plans and medical services at races in the coming weeks and months.
- This includes arrangements to ensure social distancing is respected, and equipment to facilitate hygiene measures. There will also be limited access to the medical centres with arrangements for screening and facilities to isolate anyone with potential COVID symptoms. Medical briefings will be limited and pre-race checks on riders will be on an appointment only basis to avoid waiting at the medical centre. All the medical personnel will have to wear appropriate personal protective equipment with separation of medical services for participants at the event and the public, if present with dedicated transport to hospital should it be required. Arrangements have also been made through the local health services for COVID testing should it be required. CMOs and the FIM Doctors have also been required at some events to act in the role of COVID co-ordinators and managers in addition to their normal roles and responsibilities. It has also been necessary to liaise more closely with hospitals and local heath services to ensure compliance with their current arrangements for access, treatment, isolation and testing should they be required.
The ongoing and constantly evolving situation with the associated race calendar changes, travel and quarantine restrictions have also led to pressures from changing travel arrangements and work schedules to facilitate this.
- The primary focus of the CMI is to ensure the health, well-being and safety of all involved in our communities, sport and events. We are confident that all this hard work, commitment, research, planning, and precautions will ensure the return to racing will be as safe as possible, McManus ends.