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Date: 12 June 2021
Physio’s role in historic bronze medal
Story posted/last updated: 01 August 2013
QEHB physiotherapist Emma Batchelor has spoken of her “incredible experience” in helping the Great Britain women’s hockey team to a bronze medal at the London Olympics.
Emma, who works as a clinical specialist in physiotherapy with University Hospitals Birmingham, began a 14-month secondment with GB women’s hockey in August 2011.
The role has taken her around the world, including participation in a tournament in Argentina, but the main focus of her secondment was the 2012 Games, which culminated in GB’s first Olympic hockey medal for 20 years.
Emma, who previously worked as a physiotherapist with England Netball, will now remain with GB women’s hockey until October to help review and assess their Olympics performance.
She said: “It has been an incredible experience, working with elite athletes. It was the next level for me from an experience point of view because I haven’t worked full time in this sort of activity.”
Emma, from Bromsgrove, was called upon to deal with a variety of injuries during the course of the Olympic tournament, which saw the GB women’s hockey team beat New Zealand 3-1 to win the bronze medal play-off.
“There were general hamstring problems and an ankle injury to one of the girls during a game, but it was all about making sure the girls had such things as ice baths and massages as part of their recovery plan.”
The most high profile injury was the fractured jaw suffered by GB captain Kate Walsh in the opening match of the competition against Japan, which resulted in her having a titanium plate fitted.
Emma, who helped Kate from the pitch following her injury, added: “We knew right away that she’d fractured her jaw, so that became a medical issue. But her injury certainly affected the team’s momentum.
“They are an absolutely fabulous team to work with. That’s why the semi final loss to Argentina was difficult to take because they put so much effort in. But they did really well to bounce back from that and win bronze.”
Emma, who had previously been with England netball since 1996, began her new role on 16 August 2011 when she flew to Germany for the European Championships, where they also won a bronze medal.
That was followed by a training camp in San Diego, USA, participation in the Champions Trophy in Argentina where GB took silver, and training in Spain.
“I knew there would be a lot of travelling involved, but it has been pretty hectic as well as enjoyable.”
Emma previously spent 3-4 months a year away from her UHB hospital job on netball duty, paid for by the England Netball Association. Her current full-time secondment is similarly funded by GB hockey, working for the English Institute of Sport.
She said she would have quite a lot to bring back to the hospital on her return, when she will be leading the Sport and Exercise Medicine Service alongside Dr Leon Creaney.
“One of the main things has been getting people back to fitness very quickly, and also the sharing of knowledge of different sports when we were based at Bisham Abbey with other competitors such as rowers.
“I have had plenty of messages of support from people at UHB while I have been here, which has been great.”
Emma said she had also received wonderful support from the trust, and from Physiotherapy Manager Catherine Elliott and Therapy services Manager Yvonne Pettigrew in particular.
QEHB physiotherapist Emma Batchelor attends to Alex Danson during a GB women's hockey match. Photograph: Ady Kerry/GB Hockey.
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