Sports Therapy students support England Handball players

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Date: 27th Sep 2017

A pair of Buckinghamshire New University BSc (Hons) Sports Therapy students have hailed course opportunities after providing support to athletes and staff from England Handball on a trip to Denmark.

The week-long visit to Aarhus, Denmark, saw students Marilie Appel and Michaela Weedon provide pitchside first aid, taping, strapping and sports massages for 37 England Handball players and staff on an Advanced Apprenticeship for Sporting Excellence (AASE) training camp.

It is among placements enjoyed by Sports Therapy students which have included providing massages for athletes running the London Marathon for the Motor Neurone Disease Association and taking a tour of St George's Park, Staffordshire, home to England's 24 national football teams and the Football Association.

Speaking about the Denmark trip, Marilie said: “We had an early start each morning, with breakfast at 7am followed by treating players before training, which was usually at 9am.

“Training sessions lasted around two hours, which tended to be one morning session and one evening session after dinner. We would continue to work with the players before and after training sessions, sometimes as late as 10.30pm.

“It was interesting to watch the players training, especially as I had little knowledge of the sport prior to this trip. The female team invited us to join a training session which allowed us to understand why some of the more sport specific injuries from Handball occur, such as tack blisters and rotator cuff overuse. Getting involved was also a great way to break the ice with some of players.”

The students also provided pitchside first aid for the England Handball players during a visit to a school to train with and play against Danish students.

Speaking about the overall experience, Marilie said: “We made close friends with a lot of the athletes on the camp and gained excellent contacts for the future.

“Among all the things I learnt, the most important I can take from this is to not be afraid to put yourself out there for opportunities.

“This was the first time we were looking after a whole team and I was worried I wouldn't know what to do but our training kicked in and we supported each other where we had weaknesses and this allowed our strengths to more easily be put to focused use.

“We realised how important kit organisation is to being a successful and professional therapist. Firstly, having enough kit, but also knowing what's in your kit bag and where it is for quick and easy access.

“I learnt that athletes who train often have a good understanding of their own long-term injuries so it is essential talk to them and understand their needs and to work from there.

“My advice to future students looking for placements would be to take yourself out of your comfort zone because what you learn out of the experience is so much more rewarding than the brief period of time where you might feel nervous.”

The students thanked England Handball for funding the expenses for the trip and to lecturers Kevin Campbell-Karn, Neal Reynolds and Déarbhla Gallagher at Bucks New University for organising the opportunity.

Mr Campbell-Karn said the Denmark trip was typical of opportunities provided for students.

He added: “At Bucks New University we strive for excellence. Our team are all fully aware of the need to enhance the student experience with as many work-based learning experiences such as placements and opportunities with teams of all levels and abilities. It really is what sets this course and our fantastic students apart from anyone else.”

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