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Tokyo Games committee looking for 200 sports medicine doctors to work without pay

The Olympic rings are seen in front of the Japan National Stadium in Tokyo's Shinjuku Ward, on Jan. 18, 2021. (Mainichi)

TOKYO -- The Tokyo Games organizing committee is asking the Japan Sport Association (JSPO) for help in acquiring 200 sports medicine doctors to work on a voluntary basis in first-aid rooms at stadiums during the games, the Mainichi Shimbun learned on May 3.

    According to recruitment guidelines, doctors' activities will include providing emergency care for heatstroke patients, treating the sick and injured, as well as responding to people suspected of being infected with the coronavirus. The Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games is asking for doctors who will be available for around three days or at least five days during either the Olympics or Paralympics and can work around nine hours per shift. They will not receive monetary compensation other than the amount equivalent to the cost of commuting to the venues. The committee is soliciting applicants until May 14.

    Licenses for sports medicine doctors are given to physicians who have been in their practice for at least four years after acquiring their medical license and have gone through training conducted by the JSPO. Such physicians manage athletes' health, diagnose their injuries, treat them and support players as team doctors or as part of the medical management at sporting event venues.

    Initially, some 10,000 medical professionals were expected to be involved in the games. According to a source close to the Japanese government, up to 300 doctors and 400 nurses per day are needed at stadiums and the athletes' village. Earlier it emerged that the organizing committee sent the Japanese Nursing Association a letter in April requesting 500 nurses to be dispatched for the Tokyo Games.

    Amid the strain on health care services in Japan due to the resurgence of COVID-19, the latest revelation has sparked criticism on social media, with one user commenting, "Why are they not paying when the medical field has been hit by shortages of personnel and money?"

    (Japanese original by Shun Iwakabe, Sports News Department)

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