Don't drop the health ball, have a check-up: footy GP
ONE local medico watching the reboot of the NRL season with interest and an insider's perspective is a Noosa-based GP who used to help keep the St George Illawarra Dragons stay healthy for and on game days.
And Dr John Deady, who is one of two new doctors at the Ochre Medical Centre in Noosa, is urging locals to get in the game as far as looking after their health is concerned, by not putting off potentially lifesaving medical check ups.
"In the rugby league world, it's important to address any player health issues early and regularly to keep them at peak fitness," he said
"It's the same for the general community - regular check-ups and maintaining care for ongoing issues keeps people healthy and avoids worse issues, and potentially the need for hospital care, down the track.
"Anybody with cold or flu-like symptoms, however mild they may be, should not delay contacting their GP by phone or booking in with one of the new respiratory clinics so they can be assessed and tested for COVID-19," Dr Deady said.
His concerns are shared by fellow Noosa newcomer Dr Christine Davidson, who after 30 years as a GP and medical-legal expert in Canberra came north looking for a sunny retirement.
Dr Davidson changed her mind when the pandemic began and the government started to re-register retired doctors.
"It's not right to waste all that training and experience," she said.
"If there's a need for doctors, then I want to help."
Dr Davidson said: "Things can change quickly as soon as people start travelling again and we get more tourists back.
"People shouldn't be complacent about COVID-19 because government restrictions are being lifted.
"Maintaining social distancing and hygiene levels are just as important as before, especially as we get into winter," she said.
The Ochre doctors are concerned by recent reports of people delaying or ignoring other health issues during the COVID-19 pandemic through fear of infection.
"Australian prostate tests are down 60 per cent on last year and Australian hospital attendances are down 50 per cent," Dr Deady said.
"In the UK four in 10 people said they didn't seek help from their GP due to COVID-19 exposure concerns.
"These trends are a worry for the health of the community. Illness rates aren't likely to have dropped, so people are simply going undiagnosed and untreated.
Dr Deady, who has also spent 10 years as a physiotherapist, has treated all sorts of on-field NRL injuries like concussions and sprains and even carried out a one-man search for a missing players tooth after a collision.
He eventually found it after a needle-in-a-haystack search of the field and kept the misplaced molar in milk until he reinserted it after the game in readiness for specialist dental treatment.
He joins the Ochre Medical Centre from remote King Island in Bass Strait, where he was one of only two doctors.
"We had no backup. In an emergency, I'd hop in the ambulance with a volunteer driver and take people to the airport for helicopter transfers. I also saw many crayfish injuries - people getting stabbed by giant lobsters," he said.
"The crayfish down there are enormous, five or six kg monsters with enormous spikes on their tails."
Dr Davidson is more at home dealing with youngsters who have come a cropper or fallen ill.
"I enjoy interacting with youngsters, getting them to explain their symptoms and problems. "I've even had some sit up and watch me suture their wounds. Once they get over the drama stage, they find it very interesting," she said.