Prof Danie Brink, Dean for Faculty of Agrisciences, recently completed the gruelling 4 day, 240km Berg River Canoe Marathon. This year is the 59th year since hosting the first Berg River Canoe Marathon, which stretches from Paarl to Velddrif. Even though the marathon was not able to take place this year due to COVID regulations, an Ultra-Paddle Marathon was instituted in its place, where rowers had to complete the same distance in the same amount of days, from anywhere in the world!
Prof Brink was one of 10 rowers from Maties Canoe Club that completed this distance, according to the traditional Berg River route. Struggling to perform at his best, he approached a Campus Health Service (CHS) Sports Medicine Physician for a tele-consultation (the option during Covid-19 lockdown guidelines) to determine the cause and management of a possible underlying injury, with the aim of participation in the race. He was referred to the CHS Physiotherapy Practice for important treatment modalities in the overall management plan. With the race being around the corner, the therapists attending to Prof Brink knew they had no time to waste! With only a few days of training still left before the team departed for their race, resting his injury was not an option and managing it became the priority. Prof Brink had as many sessions with the therapists as time allowed and the most important aspect was to equip him to be able to manage it on his own during the race.
The race ended up being very tough, with the river being very full for the first 2 days and forcing the team to adapt to the circumstances. Day 3 and 4 was not any easier and they rowed for 6-8 hours per day, with the longest distance being 73km in one day. In the end, the team completed their race and Prof Brink was happy to report that his injury held up and that the treatment he received helped him complete his race with no complications!
The CHS Sports Medicine and Physiotherapy Team is happy to have been a part of Prof Brink's journey in preparing for this race. Well done Prof Brink - we wish him all the best with his future canoe endeavours!