Footballer Colin Ryan to feature in BOA webinar for athletes
Colin Ryan, one of the island’s top football players, will speak on the topic “Drugs in Sport” when the Bermuda Olympic Association athletes’ commission hosts two webinar lectures over the next fortnight for athletes and their parents.
Ryan, a midfielder for Premier Division side Robin Hood, is qualified on the topic as the lead pharmacist at People’s ACW at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital.
The “Drugs in Sport” presentation at 3pm on Saturday is intended to help Bermuda’s athletes avoid potential problems associated with the use of medications and supplements.
“For the presentation this Saturday with the athletes’ commission, I will be addressing some of the potential problems with the use of drugs in sport — and by ‛drugs’, I mean prescription medication, over-the-counter medication and supplements,” Ryan explained.
“People hear ‛issues with drugs in sport’ and automatically think of doping, naturally, and this will be part of the conversation. However, I am more concerned with the overall health, safety and wellbeing of the athlete, so I will also be looking at problems like adverse drug reactions and medication non-adherence.
“Both of these problems can have negative health and performance implications for the athlete.”
The second part of the lecture on March 20, also starting at 3pm, will cover branding in sport, when Hailey Smith, of Nickai Marketing, will present “An Athlete’s Brand” to provide athletes with helpful information on the use of social and other media to build a personal brand.
Smith, the daughter of former Bermuda cricket captain Clay Smith and Nicky Smith, herself a past netball international, completed her master's degree in advertising and public relations management, and has begun life as an entrepreneur with Nickai Marketing. Her skill set includes social-media consultations, social-media management and marketing strategies.
She has been working with local businesses with a view to implementing effective marketing strategies to improve overall growth.
Ryan completed his master’s degree in pharmacy at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland with first-class honours in 2010 before working as a community pharmacist in Dublin. He has a long history in sport, having played football and Gaelic football growing up in the north-west of Ireland.
Throughout this period, Ryan continued to play sport, focusing mainly on Gaelic football in his twenties and winning multiple county titles with his club as well as representing his home county of Leitrim in the All-Ireland football leagues and championship.
In 2016, Ryan moved to Bermuda and through his involvement with Robin Hood, he became a member of the Bermuda Olympic Association medical committee.
In February, Ryan completed the International Olympic Committee Drugs in Sport course, which gave him the framework to better understand the problems with drugs in sport and to identify a pathway to solve these problems.
“After identifying the problems, we will look at how we can take lessons learnt from pharmacy to reduce or minimise the problems associated with drugs in sport,” Ryan said.
“Areas like education, medicines management and direct athlete support will be discussed and services offered to a limited number of athletes who register.
“I hope the athletes will be able to take something positive and tangible from the talk, and that they will be in a better position to make informed choices about medications and supplements.
“I am excited to take part in this initiative run by the athletes’ commission and am grateful for the opportunity to speak to elite Bermudian athletes about using medication and supplements in a safe and appropriate manner.”
Ryan said the topic has significance importance in amateur sport. “I believe this to be a very important topic,” he said. “People tend to think of athletes as fit, young, healthy individuals but athletes are still susceptible to injuries and illness, as well as long-term chronic medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes and ADHD.
“It has been shown that 50 per cent of patients who are on long-term medications for chronic conditions do not take them correctly. For an athlete, this could have significant negative effects — not just on their health but also on their ability to train and compete.”
He added: “For Bermudian athletes who may suffer from long-term conditions, a Medicines Use Review will be one of the services that we will offer. This will be an in-depth review of their use and understanding of their medication and will be followed up with recommendations given to ensure they are using their medications safely and appropriately, allowing them to perform to their maximum.
“I believe it is especially important in amateur sport as the athlete may not have the same level of access to healthcare professionals as is the norm in an elite professional environment.”
Ryan admits that sports teams should pay more attention to medications and supplements. “Particularly professional sports teams need to address this issue urgently,” he said.
“Professional sports teams have a duty of care to their athletes as employees, and if their policies and practices around medicines management are inadequate, they risk their employees' health and leave themselves potentially exposed.”
• To take part in either or both of these online sessions, coaches, parents and athletes are invited to register by RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org, cc: email@example.com with the names of attendees. The BOA will respond directly with the dial-in and webinar details