Posted by Matthew Mac Partlin on Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Last week I went to the FIA Annual General Assembly, which was held in Istanbul, Turkey. It ran for a week and the first day and a half were, for the first time, given over to medical and rescue aspects of motor sports, under the title of Medicine in Motor Sport. And it was pretty good.

Monday morning was a Chief Medical Officers' seminar, which consisted of a report from each of the major FIA categories (F1, WRC, WTCC and WEC) and a summary of the recently released amendments to Appendices H and L. These reports were followed by a series of presentations on a handful of topics relevant to modern motor sports medical and rescue practice, including my presentation on concussion assessment in motor sports which I will record and post on the site soon. For details of these reports and presentations go to the Chief Medical Officers seminar blog post, which I'll post over the next few days.

Monday afternoon was run under the title of the Medicine in Motor Sport Summit, but it was essentially a continuation of the CMO seminar. The theme of the summit was "Pathways of Care" and was kicked off with two interesting addresses from representatives of each of the International Olympic Committee and the the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM).

Dr. Patrick Schamash (the IOC Medical and Scientific  Director) spoke about the Olympic Games Pathways of Care, which was impressive in terms of the sheer scale of medical resources and logistics required to support the duration of competition. Using the Bejing Olympics as an example, his presentation included numbers such as 3,000 medical volunteers, 219 medical stations and 235 ambulances. He outlined some of the issues they had to cope with, such as anti-doping strategies, dealing with sport-specific retrieval and injury management, ensuring staff comfort and health and managing competitors from resource-poor countries that used the Olympics medical facilities to get basic medical and dental health care.

Dr. David McManus (Director of the FIM Medical Commission) presented FIM's Pathways of Care and discussed areas where motorcar and motorbike care needs overlapped and differed. His talk  including an outline of the expected response to injured riders, safety developments and issues of regulation. It certainly seemed, as you would expect, that many of the issues faced by motorcycle rescue and medical teams mirror those in motor car racing and David finished by suggesting that both the FIM and FIA might benefit from a greater degree of collaboration.

These two addresses were then followed by two round table sessions on FIA pathways of care and work being conducted by the Serious Accident Study Group. The topics included biomechanics of motor sport injuries, extrication, first on scene strategies, research, data collection and training. If you want to read more about these, go to the Medicine in Motor Sport Summit blog post, which I'll post soon.

Tuesday morning was taken up with 4 workshops:

  • Serious accident
  • Resuscitation
  • Extrication
  • Burns and Hazards at Motor Sports

With about 40 delegates attending each one, it was a bit unwieldy, as Ian, Carl and I found out while running the Resuscitation workshop. But I think it went well and there was some positive feedback afterwards.

The Medicine in Motor Sport summit concluded with an extrication demonstration by members of the Istanbul Circuit extrication team.

Running alongside the medical component of the AGA and continuing on to the end of the week were meetings about the various technical, regulatory and financial aspects of FIA sanctioned events. These sessions were invitation-only meetings. The week ended with the FIA Prize Giving Ceremony, honouring both competitors and officials. You can check out the full list of prize winners here.

The whole week was hosted at the Ciragan Palace on the banks of the Bosphorous, which provided some fairly stunning scenery. Thankfully the FIA made use of this and put on a good social program that included a tour of the magnificent Topkapi Palace (well worth going if you get the chance), a visit to the famous Vakko textile factory and museum along with som fun stuff like a Turkish cuisine workshop and a belly-dancing workshop (nope, I skipped these two). Istanbul itself is a pretty spectacular city and it was great to have some time to wander through the Grand Bazaar, see the Basilica Cistern and amble along the streets. I'd definitely go back. And I'd probably go to another FIA AGA.

Highlights of the week: Meeting people like Hugh Scully, Steve Olvey and Patrick Schamash, walking through the Topkapi Palace Harem, seeing the Rod of Moses and John the Baptisit's arm in the Topkapi Palace Treasury and visiting the Basilica Cistern.

Awkward moment of the week: A brief chat with Bernie Ecclestone in the elevator on the way to the outdoor infinity swimming pool, wearing only shorts and a bath robe (me, not him). Oh well!

Over the coming days, I'll post summaries of the medical summit presentations and round table talks, but that's it for now.