Sportswise doctors at Invictus Games

Invictus Games opening ceremony

Professor Webborn and Dr Siva Mani-Babu are both in Toronto currently for the Invictus Games. Nick is the Chief Medical Officer and has organised all the medical services for the UK team.  Siva, on the far left in this photo, is the lead doctor providing the clinical services along with a team of physiotherapists and nurses.

Medical team at the Invictus Games

New physio Gaby Regan

Gaby Regan

Gaby Regan

A recent new face

Someone who hasn’t yet been formally introduced to you is Gabriella Regan. Gaby has already settled in at Sportswise as one of our physios.  She is a valuable addition to our physio team with training that includes vestibular physiotherapy – any of you who have struggled with balance issues you will know how unpleasant and debilitating that can be and how important it is to get the right treatment to help improve or resolve it. As well as vestibular physio skills Gaby is also able to offer sports massage and Pilates.

Maryke’s summer of athletics

Maryke at the Games

Maryke at the Games

Like the rest of the team physio Maryke Louw takes time to keep up to date with the latest developments in her field and has volunteered at a number of national and international sporting events, most recently as part of the medical team at both the World Para Athletics Championships and the IAAF World Championships in London. She gave us her impressions:

‘It was lovely to see some of the old faces that worked with me at the Games in Baku in 2015. The main medical room was situated on the training track where all the athletes warmed up before races. This meant that we had the likes of Bolt and Mo run right past our noses.  It was amazing to see how much more agile and powerful the athletes appear in real life compared to on TV.

We were rotated between several venues. At the training track we provided a full service of injury diagnosis and treatment as well as ice baths and compression (those are the silly trousers that I’m wearing in the picture) to speed up recovery. We also worked in the hotels where the teams stayed where we mostly provided massage and strapping.

Being stationed in the stadium itself was very exciting, but you didn’t do nearly as much as in the other venues. I’m used to working pitch side at rugby where you run up immediately if someone is down. Here the athletes preferred to hobble off the track themselves and would only accept help once they were away from the public eye. My busiest night was that rainy Wednesday evening when all the 5000m heats took place. They were extremely aggressive races and several athletes sustained long cuts on their legs from the spikes of their fellow competitors.

compression trousers

compression trousers

Volunteering at these events are always great fun and I highly recommend it. They are always looking for loads of volunteers in different areas of work (including retired ones!). The events usually have a website where you can register you interest about eighteen months before the event.

An update from Prof Nick Webborn

Prof Webborn at EPC Poland

Prof Webborn with Tim Hollingsworth at EPC Poland

I have been very touched by the show of concern for my welfare by many of our clients and thought it would be helpful to update you on my progress. I now have a planned date in August for a procedure on my spine, which hopefully will give me some relief from pain. Whether I will be able to return to routine outpatient consulting afterwards remains to be seen but as you can probably imagine I have nontheless been busy in the intervening period.

Firstly, in relation to Sportswise. The demand for our services continues to grow and consequently we have restructured the working week for all practitioners. This will allow us to make more consultations available across all disciplines. To help with the demand for Consultant appointments I’m very pleased to welcome a new member of staff to expand the services –  Dr Siva Mani-Babu. Siva is a specialist in sport and exercise medicine but, like Polly Baker and myself, has worked at Headley Court, the Defence Services Medical Rehabilitation Unit.

As for me personally – many of you will know I had the privilege in February to be elected as chair of the British Paralympic Association and this has also been taking up much of my time! I have just returned from the European Paralympic Committee’s meeting in Poland and will be hosting a reception at the London World Para Athletics Championships for Sir Philip Craven, who is the outgoing president of the IPC in September this year at the IPC general assembly meeting in Abu Dhabi. Additionally I’ve been helping to organise the medical services for the UK Invictus team for the 2017 games in Toronto.

My research work at the University of Brighton continues with various projects including the ongoing injury and illness surveys carried out at the Paralympic games and I look forward to meeting with my colleagues from the IPC medical committee in Bonn next week to discuss this further.

Rest assured that Sportswise remains an important and significant part of my everyday life, even if I’m not always present in person. I am very fortunate to have a great team of colleagues both in the clinical team and the administrative staff and we shall continue helping people for many years to come.

A warm welcome to Siva

Dr Siva Mani-Babu

Dr Siva Mani-Babu

We are delighted that Dr Siva Mani-Babu is joining the Sportswise team.  He will start with us in early July, working alongside Dr Polly Baker. Siva qualified at UCL Medical School in 2005 and in 2013 completed his four-year Sport and Exercise Medicine training, also in London, to become an SEM consultant.

Since becoming an SEM consultant Dr Mani-Babu has worked at Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre Headley Court. After two years in the Lower Limbs Dept, he became Lead Consultant for Spines Rehabilitation in the Centre for Spines and Upper Quadrant Rehabilitation, managing chronic musculoskeletal symptoms.

He was involved at the London 2012 Games, working as field of play team leader at the weight lifting and athletics arenas, and, as so many have said of working at the London Games, he says ‘it was an incredible experience, particularly as it was in the city I predominantly grew up in’.

Now in his sixth season as a club doctor with Brentford Football Club he has seen the club move up through the leagues ‘with our ultimate goal of promotion to the Premier League,’ he says. Though passionate about many sports, football is the main sport Siva has followed, enjoyed working in, and has played, though he does say that ‘of course I would like to have had more playing ability myself!’

As if that wasn’t enough to keep him busy, Dr Mani-Babu also works for British Athletics as a classifier for Disability Athletics and has been involved with the Sport and Exercise Medicine National Training programme as a member of the National Training Committee. To further develop his expertise Siva went back to university recently to complete a formal qualification with a Postgraduate Diploma in musculoskeletal ultrasound at the University of Bournemouth. ‘Though going back to writing lots of essays was hard work,’ he says, ‘it was definitely worth it.’

We are thrilled that Dr Mani-Babu will be working with us at Sportswise, bringing a wealth of skills and expertise, and together with Dr Baker forming a highly qualified and talented Sport and Exercise Consultant team.

Healthy eating talk at Sportswise

Lesley Houston, our Sportswise Dietitian gave a free talk for Sportswise clients earlier this month. ‘Eating For Health’ was a 90 minute information session covering a range of topics including how to balance your intake of major food groups in the diet. Lesley used food models to demonstrate average portion sizes and participants had the opportunity to read and discuss the relevant parts of product labelling.

An interactive session and some healthy refreshments provided by Sportswise rounded off the session. Comments from those that attended included: ‘very helpful’, ‘excelllent session’, and ‘great food at the end!’.

Future sessions are planned for late summer / Autumn.

Please give your name to reception if you are interested in attending a similar event.

Congratulations Jenny

Jenny Hughes - tennis

Jenny with her tennis partner and their winning trophies

We were delighted to hear from Jenny Hughes, a patient of Sportswise Physio Luke Carter.

Jenny’s message: ‘A million thanks for sorting my wrist out as I played the County game in Leeds followed by Wednesday to Saturday in Bournemouth and a match yesterday. Good news – my partner and I had a brilliant win in the final on Saturday against Dutch World no.2 and British no.1 and won the National Clay Court Champs over 55 doubles event. All down to you Luke, thanks again!’

Now we’re pretty sure Jenny’s tennis prowess had something to do with it too! Well done Jenny from all of the team here.



Maryke’s Edinburgh Marathon

Maryke's Edinburgh Marathon

Maryke with partner Nick and their respective medals.

Sportswise Physio Maryke Louw entered the Edinburgh marathon with her boyfriend Nick a year ago with the plan to see if they could run it in under four hours. Maryke shows us that even if things don’t go as expected it can still be a positive experience.

‘Thanks to injury and contracting every cold on offer during the winter, the training unfortunately did not go to plan. So we adjusted our goals to just enjoying it and finishing in one piece! All went well until just after half way when our legs started paying the price for not doing enough long runs, but a shuffle/walk/jog approach managed to get us to the finish.

If I If I had to score the marathon I would give it 5 out of 5 for scenery.  The difficulty?  It was actually very easy – you start in Edinburgh and run downhill for six miles to the coast. From there it runs all along the coast with only the slightest of inclines.  As for the general experience – the crowd was very supportive and the marathon is very well organised. If I had to find one criticism it would be that you had to walk 2km to get to the buses at the end!  My poor legs were not in the mood for that after doing 26 miles.’

Jo’s London Marathon

Jo Ford saw Podiatrist Glen Foley at Sportwise for help with recurring shin splints ahead of training for the London Marathon. What followed was a wonderful sporting achievement for Jo but also a fabulous fundraising effort.

‘Glen diagnosed hyper-mobility syndrome and accordingly gave me advice on the best trainers to wear and some exercises to help with the problem.

After following his advice, and a 16-week structured training plan, I managed to complete the marathon in April. This was my first marathon and up until this point I had always struggled with injury if I ran anything further than 10k.

I am so grateful for his help as completing the marathon meant I was able to raise over £3000 for a charity that is close to my heart: Cardiac Risk in the Young.  A brilliant achievement all round.  Well done Jo.

Jo with her Marathon medal and proud daughter.

Jo with her Marathon medal and proud daughter.

Vicky Barton – a special marathon story

In the run up to the 2017 London Marathon we share a special story from the 2016 Marathon – from Vicky Barton.

Vicky Barton with her London Marathon medal.

Vicky Barton with her London Marathon medal.

‘I was so excited to be offered a place to run the London Marathon 2016 for the ‘Lullaby Trust’ in memory of my son William who died in 1981 aged three months. The ‘Lullaby Trust’ supports bereaved parents and undertakes research into ‘cot death’.

Training went well and at the beginning of March I completed a 20 mile run, planning to complete 24 miles at the beginning of April to give me the confidence to believe I could manage the 26.2 miles. Imagine my horror when on March 8th I could hardly walk with pain in my hip and lower back, this got worse not better with rest and stretching.

Thankfully, to my rescue came Maryke and Sportswise who, after telling me I should always warm up before having a running race with my 5 year old grandson, assured me that if I did all that she asked I would be able to walk the route on the day, even though I only had 5 weeks to get fit enough. I had a couple of setbacks but Maryke was always there to reassure and encourage me, and stick needles in my butt!

On April 24th I completed the Marathon in just under 7 hours. I got my medal and the roads were still closed until after I finished, which was a bonus. On top of that I have raised over £2,000 for the charity.’