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Farrance will be hands-on at Games

He's worked at the Winter Olympics, the Pan-Am Games, three world figure skating championships, the world under-20 women's soccer championship and five Canada Games.

He's worked at the Winter Olympics, the Pan-Am Games, three world figure skating championships, the world under-20 women's soccer championship and five Canada Games.

Now Brian Farrance is at it again, helping cure the aches and pains of some of Canada's top-notch athletes. The 61-year-old athletic therapist/pedorthist is off to Halifax on Thursday for the 2011 Canada Winter Games.

Farrance has agreed to take on the job as athletic therapist for the Yukon hockey teams. He will work with the men's team the first week of the Games, then switch to the women's team for the second week.

As head athletic therapist for the 2015 Canada Winter Games, he was already scheduled to be part of the city of Prince George delegation heading to Halifax, but he would not have been a front-line soldier with that group.

"I was going to go with the city for a week of meetings for the second week, but they offered me a real job," joked Farrance, who works at the Northern Sport Centre as owner of Brian Farrance Orthotics. "Given the chance to be a bureaucrat or a therapist, I'd much rather be a therapist.

"It's a fact-finding mission and as you get closer to the end of the second week you find out from the head therapist what they did really well and the things they could maybe have improved upon and apply that to our Games. It's just the logistics of getting people from place to place that's scary. It's the scheduling I want to figure out."

The Games in Halifax start Friday and run through to Feb. 27. Farrance will be stationed at the Poly Clinic treatment centre in the Halifax World Trade and Convention Centre but his work will not restrict him to that building. He plans to visit all the sports venues to examine the setups and see how medical personnel are allocated and how many will be needed, knowledge he will apply to his job as chief therapist for the Games in Prince George.

Farrance's wife, Janet Ames, will be the head doctor at the 2015 Games. Farrance is confident there will be no shortage of medical treatment expertise when it comes time for the city to host the Games. Others who have committed to be part of the Prince George event are Jack Taunton of Vancouver, and orthopedic surgeon Bob McCormack of Vancouver, both of whom have served as Canada's chief medical officer at the Olympic Games.

The second floor of the Civic Centre will become the medical treatment centre during the 2015 Games. Farrance wants to involve local therapists in 2015 and is asking that those interested in applying take a first-responder emergency course, a requirement for working at the Games. He is trying to arrange that course to be offered in Prince George in advance of the Games. An estimated 25 athletic therapists will be required.

"To be considered eligible for the Canada Games you have to be a certified athletic therapist or a physiotherapist with special expertise in sports medicine," Farrance said. "The therapy part of it is the same, whether you're an athletic therapist or a physiotherapist, we're just different organizations. People have to have their field emergency ability right up to snuff, and the standard for that now is the first-responder course.

"Most of the people that go to the Games already have a considerable body of work behind them as far as starting off at local activities and then moving up to university and provincial activities, and then you're eligible to apply for bigger games."

Of all the events he's practiced his tricks of the trade, Farrance says the Canada Games ranks as the most enjoyable because of the freedom he has to visit other venues. That wasn't the case at the Vancouver Olympics, where his work was limited strictly to the curling events.

"At the Canada Games, you can go wherever you want with your medical accreditation when you're not working," he said. "At the Olympic Games, the only time I could be in the rink was when I was scheduled to work, and I couldn't go anywhere else. So I watched it on TV like everyone else.

"The Canada Games is great because you get a nice mix of young therapists and old therapists and young doctors and old doctors and you always learn things at those Games and you get to teach as well. It's usually quite a lot of fun."

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