A CAIRNS doctor who has helped treat the Australian Swimming team has been appointed to a first of its kind position with Queensland Health.
Dr Kira James has started the new role at Cairns Hospital as a Staff Specialist in Sport and Exercise Medicine in the hospital’s orthopaedic department.
The role is the first time a Sport and Exercise Physician has been employed within the public health system in Queensland.
Dr James is a Team Doctor for the Australian Swim Team (The Dolphins), and has worked for the Australian Men’s Water Polo Team, and the Young Matilda’s Football team.
She was also the Deputy Chief Medical Officer for the 2022 Australian Winter Paralympic team.
Dr James and her new hospital clinic will focus on treating patients’ acute musculoskeletal (soft tissue) injuries, such as ankle sprains, shoulder dislocations and stress fractures.
The clinic will also treat patients with chronic musculoskeletal injuries, the type of injuries that don’t require surgery, or surgery yet, such as early osteoarthritis.
She said patients did not need to be athletes to be treated at the clinic.
‘Whether you’ve injured yourself mowing the lawn or a long-distance marathon, we want to be able to help you,’ she said.
‘We love our weekend warriors as much as our elite sportspeople.
‘We want to keep you active, because we want to change our population to a more active population.
‘Sports may be the glamorous side of what we do, but the exercise medicine is the bread and butter:
She said with Cairns increasingly regarded as a leading international sports training destination, it was important to have more sports health professionals based in the region.
‘I’m going to the Athletic World Championships in Budapest later this year and the team have previously used Cairns as a training base before the Tokyo Olympics,’ she said.
‘As Queenslanders work towards the Brisbane Olympic Games in 2032, there’s going to be more demand having this service here, particularly for teams because it means they don’t need to fly an extra doctor in as we’ve already got someone on the ground.’
She said the new clinic also had the benefit of helping reduce waiting lists within the hospital’s orthopaedic department.
‘A lot of the patients we will be seeing will benefit from specialist opinions, but will not require surgery,’ she said.
‘They need a diagnosis, and they need allied health input such as physiotherapy.
‘Our aim is to get to these patients seen as soon as possible, so they’re not sitting on a waiting list, and get them the help they need so they can be active again.
‘This adds to the range of services we already have available to our patients.’