Gym­nast re­tired aged 16 due to in­juries

Harefield Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - By Will Ack­er­mann will.ack­er­mann@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

AS a tal­ented young gym­nast rep­re­sent­ing Great Bri­tain, Candice Carter had a promis­ing sport­ing ca­reer ahead of her.

So she was heartbroken when, at the age of 16, she was forced to re­tire from the pro­fes­sion be­cause of an in­jury.

But now the 30-year-old from Ruis­lip is putting her ex­pe­ri­ence to good use – as a phys­io­ther­a­pist at Hilling­don Hos­pi­tal.

She said: “It was tough at the time be­cause gym­nas­tics was my life, but I went on to gain a sports sci­ence de­gree and then chose to fo­cus on phys­io­ther­apy.

“It’s a hands-on pro­fes­sion but you can see the pos­i­tive re­sults of what you are do­ing, which is re­ward­ing, and I en­joy the in­ter­ac­tion with pa­tients.”

Ms Carter took up gym­nas­tics aged five and com­peted with Great Bri­tain’s ju­nior team be­fore hav­ing to re­tire from the sport.

The phys­i­cal de­mands of train­ing more than 20 hours a week took their toll, caus­ing her repet­i­tive back and an­kle in­juries.

But after com­plet­ing a sports sci­ence de­gree, fol­lowed by a phys­io­ther­apy de­gree at Brunel Univer­sity, she is now forg­ing an equally suc­cess­ful ca­reer for her­self at the hos­pi­tal in Pield Heath Road.

She sees around 20 pa­tients a day at the hos­pi­tal’s re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion gym, treat­ing ev­ery­thing from whiplash and frac­tures to back pain and foot in­juries, us­ing a range of ma­nip­u­la­tion and mo­bil­i­sa­tion tech­niques.

She is part of an 18-strong out­pa­tient team whose wider depart­ment also in­cludes oc­cu­pa­tional ther­apy as well as phys­io­ther­apy for in­pa­tients and out­pa­tients.

She said: “It does in­volve some de­tec­tive work get­ting to the root of the prob­lem, but that’s what makes it in­ter­est­ing, and pa­tients are of­ten sur­prised about how the body com­pen­sates for an in­jury by mak­ing another part work harder.”

n HANDS-ON: Candice Carter now works as a phys­io­ther­a­pist at Hilling­don Hos­pi­tal

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