Kicking off a series of guest blogs on here is wheel-chair tennis player and Paralympian Louise Hunt.
Louise was born with a condition called Spina Bifida. Spina Bifida is a developmental congenital disorder caused by the incomplete closing of the embryonic neural tube. Louise has therefore been in a wheelchair her whole life as she has little movement in her lower limbs. At the age of 5 Louise began participating in many sports, swimming, basketball, fencing and soon discovered she had keen interests in Wheelchair Tennis and Wheelchair Racing. Louise Won 7 out of 10 London Mini Wheelchair Marathons which is an un-official World Record. Alongside this she was also playing Tennis and soon realised this was her real passion. Louise has been playing and competing in Tennis ever since, and in 2012 competed in her first Paralympic Games in London. Louise followed this 4 years later by competing in the Rio 2016 Paralympic games too, and has steadily climbed the ITF World Rankings over a number of years. I have had the privilege of helping her keep injury free for the past few years, and I asked Louise for a few words on the importance of a recovery protocol in elite sport.
“I have been competing full time as a wheelchair tennis player for many years now, I train for approximately 20hours a week, a combination of on court time as well as strength and conditioning work in the gym. I also compete in 15-20 tournaments each year all around the world. The physical demands on my body from this training and travelling as well as being a full time wheelchair user are very high. Our bodies weren’t made to sit down all day and push a chair, therefore it is crucial I have a specific program in place to ensure I keep fit and well at all times in order to compete at a high level.
A huge part of this is monitoring my body and ensuring recovery is at its optimum. Dan has given me stretches specific to aid recovery and prevent injury , not just as a warm up and cool down from training but as a part of my general day-to-day well being. These are mainly around keeping my core and upper body flexible and strong. Dan also sees me weekly for sports therapy/massage which is crucial to helping me train and compete to my best. My back in particular needs specific attention as, particularly with my disability, it can be prone to injury and discomfort.”
Louise is currently seeking financial support on her journey to the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic games! if you are interested in supporting Louise, please do not hesitate to contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please visit this site http://www.getkidsgoing.com/supporting-british-disability-sport/ for information about sport and mobility for disabled children.
For more information on Spina Bifida, visit http://www.shinecharity.org.uk/
N.B. There are no ‘one size fits all’ style quick fixes in most injury scenarios, so these article shouldn’t be seen as such. They are merely guides to a better understanding of how our bodies work.