Dr. Andrew Marshall’s credentials are impressive and heavily weighted around sports medicine. He started in the military as a general practitioner and trained in orthopedics while there. When he retired from the military, adding sports medicine to his practice was a logical route to take. “Hav-ing an orthopedic surgeon who knew how to treat family medicine issues was seen as a positive for teams and at games,” Dr. Marshall says of his work with numerous sports teams and athletes.
He is the co-owner of the Carleton Sport Medicine Clinic, as well as team physician for Carleton Ravens football team, the orthopedic lead for The Ottawa Redblacks football team, medical advisor for the World ParaVolley and he serves on the board of directors for the Canadian Academy of Sport and Exercise Medicine.
The doctor has seen first-hand the impact that COVID-19 has had on athletes. Aside from the loss of team spirit, he is sympathetic to the career implications that halting sports has had and says the loss of opportunity for players is significant. “At the university level the impact has been chal-lenging as some athletes only have five years of eligibility, or age out, and the loss of a season also affects their being in school as they may graduate this year.”
Dr. Marshall has strong ties with both the Olympics and Paralympics as the CMO of the Canadian Paralympic Team, Tokyo 2020. He was in Japan in February doing a final site visit when that country went into lockdown. He then returned to Canada and operated for one last time in mid-March before the hospital closed to all surgeries except for emergency cases. His sports medicine clinic closed around the time that universities shut down, so he has been personally, professionally as well as emotionally impacted—given his dedication to athletics.
“It was a devastating thing, after watching teams qualify for the games weeks before, for the decision to be made that Canada would not attend, and ultimately that the Olympics would be postponed until 2021,” states the compassionate surgeon.
However, he does see some of the positives, especially for athletes who have been in recovery from injuries and surgeries to have had the opportunity to heal, and for athletes overall to be given the chance to focus on mental preparation and training. But, he acknowledges the difficulty for players and teammates to be working in isolation.
Dr. Marshall notes that there have been fewer injuries and accidents, which is always a good thing, but the benefits of sport and physical fitness is significant for society as a whole—both physically and mentally. “Through a gradual and stepwise approach, I am optimistic we can get back to being fit and healthy and allow athletes the ability to train and compete in a safe environment,” he adds hopefully.