PEI

P.E.I. man enjoying 'every minute' of being physician for national para hockey team

Dr. Ben Cameron, originally from P.E.I. and now practising sports medicine in Calgary, said he did not have to think long when Hockey Canada asked him to join a national para hockey training camp this month.

Being in bubble so close to home a weird experience

Dr. Ben Cameron and Billy Bridges are representing P.E.I. at the national para hockey training camp. (Hockey P.E.I.)

Dr. Ben Cameron, originally from P.E.I. and now practising sports medicine in Calgary, said he did not have to think long when Hockey Canada asked him to join a national para hockey training camp this month.

"When they said they needed a physician for this camp it was a pretty short conversation," said Cameron.

"Any time Hockey Canada asks you to do something if you can make it work you do. They're such a first-class organization."

While his answer was quick, the 11-day camp is a much bigger commitment than it would be under normal circumstances. To keep everyone safe during the pandemic, players and staff at the camp had to enter a bubble at WinSport's Canada Olympic Park.

Not such a big deal, perhaps, for people travelling to Calgary for the camp, but Cameron describes it as a weird experience. His home is just seven kilometres away, and his regular clinic is in the same facility.

"To be that close to my — quote, unquote — normal life and not be able to participate in it is a bit odd," he said.

'Different demands'

There are protocols for COVID-19 inside the bubble as well, including mask-wearing and physical distancing.

Cameron said the players are closely following the rules. Occasionally, in the heat of a game they can be forgetful when consulting with coaches.

"That's the place where we have to correct them the most, because they're on the ice and they're focused on what they're doing," said Cameron.

It's interesting working with a paralympic team, he said. Usually with young athletes medical histories are not very long, but with para-athletes there is always at least one thing you need to be aware of.

"I've enjoyed every minute of it because every player is unique," said Cameron.

"They have different demands and things that they do. It's been very interesting learning all of that from each one of them."

The team is really excited to be back on the ice, he said, because they haven't been together since March.

This is the first of what Hockey Canada hopes will be several training camps in advance of the 2021 IPC World Para Hockey Championship in the Czech Republic in May.

Cameron said his current appointment is just for this camp, so he does not yet know if he will be making the trip to the championships.

More from CBC P.E.I.

With files from Island Morning

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