The 2013 Boston Marathon was stolen from the athletes and the city by two terrorist bombs, which led to four deaths, hundreds of injuries, a city shuttered for long stretches, and a tense manhunt that concluded with one suspect dead and the other injured. But the 2013 Marathon wasn’t finished until the end of the day on April 21, 2014. Marathon Monday 2014 in Boston was a glorious day for more than 32,000 runners and more than a million spectators. It was a day throughout which the outcomes of orthopaedic, disaster preparedness, physical therapy, and emergency medicine teamwork were again on display.
From prosthetic limbs to fundraising groups paying it forward, the 2014 Boston Marathon was inspiring end-to-end. As thousands of runners observed a moment of silence in the chill morning at the Hopkinton start, the profound shared experience of the past year or years settled upon them. Urged to “Take back that finish line!” the runners ran through sun-filled streets to the finish line 26.2 miles away. Children, families, and strangers clapped, shouted, and urged them on every step of the way.
In March, in conjunction with our friends at the Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy (JOSPT), we published a special report on the emergency preparedness, long-term care, and outcomes for many of those caught up in last year’s Marathon bombings. This report is available online for free at http://sites.jbjs.org/ittakesateam/2014/. I urge you to take a look.
If there was ever an event that showed how the skill, knowledge, and diligence of medical professionals benefited people with the resolve and strength to make the most of it, the 2014 Boston Marathon was that event. As families embraced at the finish line, as friends, heroes, and survivors shared in the accomplishment of completing not just one marathon but so much more, one theme stood out: the amazing strides made possible through teamwork in orthopaedic care, physical therapy, emergency medicine, trauma surgery, and system-wide planning.