Press release -
Lecturer to support Team GB medical needs at Special Olympics in Berlin
An Assistant Professor in Nursing at Northumbria University has been appointed as Medical Officer for Team Special Olympics Great Britain at the Special Olympics World Games.
The Special Olympics World Games, which are taking place in Berlin, is the world's largest inclusive sporting event, where more than 7,000 athletes with intellectual disabilities will compete in 26 sports.
As Medical Officer for Team Special Olympics GB, Dr Daniel Monk will have the lead medical responsibility for more than 80 athletes who are competing in 17 sports, including athletics, swimming, cycling and unified football amongst others.
Dr Monk will also work closely with the team of volunteer coaches and support staff at the Games, which are being held between 17-25 June.
A registered nurse, Daniel spent the early part of his career working in a variety of urgent care and walk-in facilities in the North-East, before moving to Northumbria University, where he specialises in teaching students about emergency, urgent and unplanned care from a clinical, professional, patient and managerial perspective. He also teaches and delivers continuing professional development programmes for qualified nurses and healthcare workers.
This background in medicine and care, and a desire to work with under-represented individuals, prompted Daniel to apply for the voluntary role.
Following a comprehensive interview process, he was selected as Team Special Olympics GB’s Medical Officer and has undertaken much preparation work with the wider delegation team, including developing medical administration and first aid policies.
During the Games, he will implement the plans and activities put in place to manage the health and well-being of delegation members, including medication administration and education and support to coaches and support staff. He will also work with doctors and nurses to provide guidance and direction if any injuries are sustained during the games.
Daniel, who is an Assistant Professor in Northumbria’s Department of Nursing, Midwifery and Health, said: “This is such an exciting opportunity for me personally and professionally. I’m working within a fantastic and highly experienced team to deliver support for a truly inspirational event. For me, it will be a privilege to help the athletes be the best they can be.
“Of course, there is lots to do beforehand regarding the health of athletes, many of whom have existing health problems. Due to these complexities, it is essential to ensure appropriate support of their treatment whilst at the Games.
“A key part of my role is to ensure that individual athletes receive the correct support before and after competing, as well as having plans to manage any emergency treatment that may be required.”
Special Olympics Great Britain is a non-profit organisation and the largest provider of year-round sports training and athletic competition for children and adults of all abilities with intellectual disabilities, also known as learning disabilities.
Laura Davies, Head of Projects & Events at Special Olympics GB and part of the Delegation Management Team for Berlin 2023, said: “Competing at a Special Olympics World Games is often a lifechanging opportunity for our athletes, but it is only possible because of the incredible support of volunteers like Dr Monk who give up their time to provide such great support.
“We’re incredibly grateful to him for coming into this role as our Team Special Olympics GB Medical Officer and we also thank Northumbria University for enabling him to take up this role and support our athletes.”
Professor Debra Porteous, Head of Department for Nursing, Midwifery and Health at Northumbria University, added: “We’re delighted to support Daniel’s voluntary work with Special Olympics GB and congratulate him for having the experience and dedication to take on such an incredible role.
“The importance of supporting people to succeed, no matter what their background or situation, ties in closely with the ethos of Northumbria University and our newly announced Centre for Health and Social Equity.
“We strive for our students to do the best that they can do, encouraging and supporting them every step of the way and Daniel’s voluntary work is an exemplar for how we can reflect these values in many ways throughout our nursing careers.”
Northumbria University recently shared ambitious plans to develop its Centre for Health and Social Equity, known as CHASE. The Centre, which is expected to open by 2027, will bring together academics working on health, social care, education, wellbeing and equity issues across Northumbria’s City and Coach Lane campuses into one central base in the heart of Newcastle.
The University offers a variety of speciality nursing programmes including nursing for people who have learning disabilities and is currently ranked number one in the UK for children’s nursing according to The Guardian.
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