Univesity sports therapists support 'Tower to Tower'
Sports Therapists from Staffordshire University will be braving the elements to offer round-the-clock care for crew members taking part in a six day charity rowing challenge across The English Channel.
The University is sponsoring the Donna Louise Hospice’s ‘Tower to Tower’ event, which will see 24 celebrities and members of the community row from Tower Bridge in London to the Eiffel Tower in Paris, in May.
Brendon Skinner and Dean Matkin, both Lecturers in Sports Therapy, will man a support boat travelling alongside the rowers to help the team with any aches, pains or injuries whilst they are out on the open water.
“We’ll be doing a lot of massage and recovery work, trying to keep the crew as supple, pain-free and relaxed as possible - piecing them together basically.” said Brendan.
“There will be a lot of strain on the rowers’ lower backs, shoulders, and arms. I expect there will be a lot of cracked hands from holding the oars and possibly saddle sores from sitting for so long. Plus the cold and the wet will take its toll over six continuous days.”
The pair will be on the same shift pattern as the rowers – two hours on and two hours off – during the challenge.
“It’s going to be quite relentless.” said Dean “We’re going to have to do some training in preparation to help deal with the sleep deprivation.”
“There’s a decent amount of responsibility on us to keep the team fit and healthy so we need to make sure that we rest and recover ourselves. If we start to fall apart then there is no-one else to help the crew.”
The sports therapy team hopes that their involvement will help raise the profile University’s School of Psychology, Sport and Exercise.
Award Leader in Sports Therapy, Steve Bateman, was originally meant to be on the sports therapy team but stepped up to the mark when he found out that an extra rower was needed on the crew.
“It’s not often you get asked to do something like this and I’m always up for a challenge.”
Steve was thrown in at the deep end and six days after signing up he took part in a 24 hour practice row from Ramsgate around the Isle of Sheppey and back.
“It was great training but it was also a reality check. Even though it was only 24 hours we had to deal with tiredness and we got sore. It made us realise just how tough the row in May will be.”
“Since I’ve come back I’ve been in the gym every day. The Sports Therapy team are putting together a training program for me and are going to help me get into shape.”
Steve joins Vice-President of the Students’ Union, Louise Mason, on the crew who also been receiving specialist support from the University’s sports experts.
You can follow Steve’s progress on his blog.
Funds raised by the team will help pay for two new children's nurses at the Donna Louise hospice who will provide specialist care and support to life threatened children.
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