Australia comes 5th at the Diabetic Foot Olympics

Australia tied for equal 5th with Sweden on the final medal count of the ‘Olympics of the Diabetic Foot’ held in the Netherlands last month.

What the?

Well, let us rephrase that, Australia presented the equal 5th highest number of scientific presentations at the 8th International Symposium on the Diabetic Foot (ISDF) just last month.

Still, what the? Well, ISDF has been informally known as the “Olympics of the Diabetic Foot” for a variety of reasons for over 20 years. And presenting your work at ISDF is the highest conference achievement in the diabetic foot world! So, now you get it, it’s like winning an Olympic diabetic foot medal!

Nope, still what the? OK, live a little, just go with us on this one and have a peak at the medal count below

Yep, that’s right 5th! See we knew you’d be exited too 😉

We came equal 5th out of nearly 50 nations winning diabetic foot Olympic medals and over 100 nations who were at the Olympics! We came in behind the global diabetic foot research powerhouses of the US (1st), UK (2nd), Netherlands (3rd) and Italy (4th), but in front of Denmark (7th), China (8th), France (9th) and Ireland/Brazil (tied 10th). And we would have come outright 5th, if A/Prof Jaap van Netten (AKA “Aussie Jaap”) Gold and Silver medal presentations of his Australian work were included in our count!

What do the medals even mean?

Well, in keeping with the Olympics theme, we reckon a Gold medal at the Diabetic Foot Olympics is like being specifically invited to present your work at ISDF by ISDF (inc plenary lecture, mini-symposium lecture, workshop). A Silver medal is like having your work accepted by ISDF to present on the podium in one of the rare oral abstract sessions. And considering how many abstracts are rejected by ISDF, having your work accepted to present in a poster abstract session is probably akin to a Bronze medal.

So, who got our medals?

Well as you can see Australia achieved 1 Gold medal via our reigning ‘Olympic champion’, Prof Rob Fitridge in the Peripheral artery disease categories. We also got 4 Silvers, 1 from Dr Joel Lasschuit in the Charcot, and 3 from Dr Pete Lazzarini presenting/accepting on behalf of Dr Mal Fernando in Gait, Dr Christina Parker in Organisation and Ms Yuqi Zhang in the Epidemiology categories.

And lastly, but certainly not leastly, we got 15 Bronze medals across a variety of categories and people, including two each from Ms Pam Chen, Dr Guill Pena, Dr Nat Wischer, Dr Mal Fernando, and one each for Dr Byron Perrin, Miss Jill Featherston, Ms Lucia Michailidis, Ms Tracey Kaczmarek, Miss Ana Andric, Dr Frances Henshaw and Dr Pete Lazzarini. All our medal winner’s presentation titles can be found here.

Are you serious?

OK we admit it, this was a little bit of fun, but it does have a serious side too. What it shows is that Australia is fast becoming one of the rising stars of global diabetic foot research coming from outside the Top 10 nations at the last Diabetic Foot Olympics (7th ISDF in 2015) to be in the Top 5 nations this time.

And this is a pretty good indication that Australia is well on the way to achieving one of our primary objectives of empowering Australia to become a leading nation in diabetic foot disease management.

But, now it’s up to all of us to pull together even more, build on this momentum and collectively produce even more globally-recognised work over the next 4 years. And hopefully at the 9th Diabetic Foot Olympics in 2023, we can turn a few of our Silvers and Bronzes into Gold medal presentations, plus, beat those Italians and move closer to the Big 3 diabetic foot nations; the US, UK and Netherlands.

But, after all that, OK you are right, this is not really about winning medals or delivering presentations. What each of these presentations actually represents is a new globally-important diabetic foot fact, test or treatment, each of which brings us one step closer to meaning our patients can avoid amputations and collectively as a nation we can finally end avoidable amputations within a generation. That’s what this is actually about, ending amputations and this is another big step towards doing that!

Did you forget something?

Don’t forget, our very own “Down Under Diabetic Foot Olympics” in Brisbane in September, DFA 2019!

This is the same DFA 2019 where you will interact with oodles of globally-recognised diabetic foot research from the 5th best diabetic foot nation in the world …. no not Sweden, us, Australia 😉!

And if that doesn’t quite do it for you, we have 4 international keynote speakers coming as well. And we can now say that they collectively won 10 Gold medals at this year’s Olympics in the categories of prevention, wound healing, infection, offloading, surgery, emergencies, translation and guidelines.

Our international keynotes also each come from one of the Big 3 diabetic foot nations, and one of them was even the Michael Phelps of this year’s Diabetic Foot Olympics winning the most outstanding researcher/clinician award for the whole Olympics. Yep, we have the diabetic foot Michael Phelps.

And if you’ve been living under a rock and don’t know who? They are Prof Larry Lavery (US), Prof Fran Game (UK), and A/Prof Jaap van Netten (Netherlands). And we have a fourth mystery international keynote Prof from another European nation to be announced very shortly along with much, much more!

Who was Michael Phelps of the Diabetic Foot Olympics?

Prof Lavery (US) of course! He was this year’s very prestigious Karel Bakker award winner for the most outstanding global diabetic foot researcher/clinician (“athlete”) of the last 4 years, AKA Michael Phelps.

Go on you know you want too 😉

So seriously people, now is the time to book for our very own “Down Under Diabetic Foot Olympics” before it sells out. And you’ll be joining 400 of your closest Australian diabetic foot friends for an absolute global diabetic foot festival in sunny Brisvegas in Sept!

So hit the button, claim it back on tax and register for DFA 2019 today.