Game Day


You know autumn is just around the corner when the NFL kicks off.  Throw in an episode of Strictly and you’re all set.

I love the NFL.  I’ve been a fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers since 1985.  No, I’ve not been to Pittsburgh but I have seen games both Stateside and in London.  And no I don’t have pressure sores from sitting watching a game that lasts ~3hours.

My love of the sport dates back to when I used to watch with my Dad on Channel 4.  At that time Pittsburgh was the worst team in the league.  We would have bets on how much they would get beat by that week (I didn’t realise that they’d won 4 Superbowls in the 70s so assumed they’d always been crap).  I also used to listen to the games on the Armed Forces radio.  Usually it would drift out at a crucial 4th and goal so I’d be left shouting at the  radio in frustration.

So why American Football?  I think initially it was the physicality of the game.  It’s much more heavily regulated now but some of the tackles are quite spectacular.

The ‘plays’ are like little set pieces – so I guess that kind of appeals to my sense of organisation.

I think the main reason though is the team ethos.  I’d never really seen or heard much about the concept of the ‘team’ in British sports.  That’s not to say it doesn’t exist but the NFL has always stressed/celebrated its importance much more openly.  While there may appear to be a gazillion players on an NFL team all doing different things, they all know why they are there and what role they play.

So I guess this is what was in the back of my mind when our stroke team started the Aston OD (Organisation Development) work this week.


Like many specialty teams in the NHS we are pretty small but high performing.  Stroke care is usually delivered by Geriatricians but unlike other aspects of Geriatric Medicine we are held to account by the Scottish Government through a series of targets.  Something that adds to the pressure of working in such a small team.

So we decided to take a timeout. Of sorts. The plan is to continue delivering high quality stroke care whilst striving to meet our targets.  However over the next 3 months I have the job of leading the team through the Aston journey.

I’ve never done anything like this but I’m excited. Every session will be like game day (in my mind anyway).  They’ll be planned out meticulously.  The game plan will be shared ahead of time so the team is prepared. We will leave everything on the field.  In short we will ‘get it done’.

Whilst we may not win the Vince Lombardy trophy of Aston OD I am hopeful that Team Stroke will emerge stronger, more cohesive. More awesome!

Now.  Let’s do this……!!!!!

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