Society Members Laura Dent and Charlotte Stowell spent from the 12th to 22nd July volunteering at the FIL Rathbones Women’s Lacrosse World Cup at Surrey Sports Park in Guilford. Laura, who runs her own clinic, LD Sports Therapy, in Hertfordshire, was joined by her colleague Sports Therapist Charlotte during the World Cup.
Laura decided to get in touch with the event organisers, having previously worked at the 2010 Men’s Lacrosse World Cup just after graduating from the University of Kent. She talked to them about her background as a Sports Therapist and they were very keen to make the most of her skills. She said:
‘I was pleased that Sports Therapy was being recognised as such a valuable part of provisions at a World Cup and I was delighted that my practice would represent Sports Therapy on a world stage.’
Laura and Charlotte supplied treatment to a number of different athletes. The first group was the players themselves, particularly members of teams representing countries that could not bring their own medical staff, as funding for Lacrosse is not always readily available. The second group was the Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) Umpires, who were running during matches just as much as the players. Both players and Umpires alike were finding the ground, although grass, to be hard and were feeling the impact of the matches in their legs. Laura said:
‘Much of the treatment was soft tissue therapy, with players and Umpires asking for massage treatment to ‘flush out’ their legs to feel ready for their next match but there was also a variety of injuries to treat, including back and shoulder complaints, ankle sprains and calf, hamstring and quad strains.’
Laura and Charlotte treated around 100 athletes and Umpires over the course of the tournament. Laura said: ‘Working with elite athletes is always enjoyable as they are grateful for any treatment or advice we can offer them.’ While it sometimes varied, a typical day for her consisted of spending three to four hours in the treatment room in the morning, with appointments lasting 30 minutes each. She was then able to watch part of a match and have lunch before spending another couple of hours treating patients in the afternoon.
It wasn’t all work and no play for Laura and Charlotte, as they were able to watch the main match of the day at 6pm daily. Laura said: ‘Generally, people were keen to watch the main games and so would avoid booking appointments at the same time.’
This allowed the Therapists to watch some of the most gripping matches of the tournament. Being a lacrosse player, Laura was excited to be able to watch the England bronze medal match. She said:
‘Watching the England bronze match was the most tense I have ever felt watching sport. Knowing some of the players and what it meant to them added to the tension and so I was quite literally on the edge of my seat and cheering manically! I was so delighted England won a medal, something they haven’t done for 12 years; it shows the progress they have made.’
Aside from the experience of watching England win a medal at the World Cup, Laura felt that both she and Charlotte have gained plenty professionally from the event. She said:
‘This will add to my professional experience as it’s so important to challenge yourself and put yourself into new and unknown situations. Not only does it aid your Sports Therapy knowledge, but it challenges you to develop communications, operations and logistics skills, all of which are valuable when you run your own clinic.
‘To have now provided Sports Therapy at two World Cups will establish us as a practice that can work at high level events. It will also make us stand out as a practice that therapists want to come and work at to have that mix of clinical and sporting work.’
LD Sports Therapy is currently looking to recruit two Sports Therapists in Hertfordshire as the clinic has become very busy. The new therapists will be joining the clinic’s existing three Sports Therapists and work in a multidisciplinary team, alongside Osteopaths, Physiotherapists, Nutritionists and Acupuncturists.
If you would like to find out more or apply for the role, follow the link: http://www.society-of-sports-therapists.org/index.php/members/vacancy/sports-therapist-for-ld-sports-therapy