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Preparation is the key!

Preparation is the key!

The preparation has started for the 2012 European Championships as Cari Thorpe, Head of the England Touch medical team, finalised the team following a series of selection days and interviews.

Emma Knott, Head Physiotherapist and Dave Vaux, Osteopath and conditioning coach had already been appointed following their successful applications to the posts, and have been actively involved in the prehabilitation and conditioning programmes which are available to all ETA squad members via the drop box links.

Cari Thorpe - Head Of Medical Services
Emma Knot - Head Physiotherapist
David Vaux - Team Member/ Conditioning Coach

During the European Championships each ETA team will be assigned a specific medical team member to cover their games pitch side, so that the team has a consistent point of contact. However Cari has stressed that she is very keen that all the ETA squad members are able to approach any member of the medical team during events that they are covering.

The final team selected consists of 7 chartered physiotherapists and an osteopath, chosen for their expert skills and knowledge. The team is multinational, including team members from Canada, Australia, Ireland and England.

Introducing the Team

Peter Ellyat - Team Physiotherapist
Nikki Prichard - Team Physiotherapist
Erin Parish - Team Physiotherapist
Emma Crawford - Team Physiotherapist
Nathan Wharton - Team Physiotherapist

The team has been working hard to ensure that the 8 England squads are in the best possible hands during the 2012 European Championship and other ETA events that they cover, with several training sessions planned for the team.


On Saturday 14th July, the University of Huddersfield hosted the first of a series of training sessions. This was the first chance that the team were able to meet together since their appointments.

Physio Brake Time

Brew time!

Emma Knott, Head Physiotherapists commented:

“We wanted to create a multidisciplinary team that was professional and able to work together and share ideas and skills, whilst still able to have some fun. The training session was a real success and everyone worked really well together and it was great to finally sit down as a team and plan the Euros.”

As with all medical teams covering sporting events, it is essential that the team members are proficient in emergency first aid and therefore the first training session covered CPR, defibrillation, concussion management and spinal injuries. Although touch is a non contact sport, experience from the world cup showed that as well as soft tissue injuries, fractures and concussion can occur at the elite level. With the wet summer that we are experiencing at the moment players will be mainly training and playing on soft ground, however the ground in Italy will be much drier and harder and therefore the change in ground surface may be a major risk factor in injuries.

Dave Vaux, conditioning coach commented:“We have tried to factor in the risks associated with playing touch into our conditioning and prehabilitation programmes; however it is impossible to eliminate all risk!”

Physio Team Practicing Spinal Board TransfersPhysio Team Practicing Spinal Board Straps

Physio Team Practicing CPR

The ETA medical team practice spinal board transfers and CPR/defibrillation

The team are also working hard to develop protocols and pathways based on the most recent evidence to ensure the best possible care for the squad whilst competing in the Euros in Italy on the 12th-16th September.

As part of the development of the ETA medical team, Cari and Emma K are also collecting data on touch related injuries in the hope to develop the understanding of touch injuries and their mechanisms. There is very little evidence surrounding injuries in touch, and it is hoped that this information will help to develop prehabilitation and rehabilitation programmes specifically designed for touch players. They are currently working with the ETA mixed 30’s squad to validate a movement based computer screening programme which is hoped to be the first step to individualised programmes for ETA squad members.

The ETA medical team will be at the all squad training session at Lileshall on the 1st/2ndSeptember to continue their training prior to the Euros, and are looking forward to meeting all the squad members.

We are England Touch

We are the players. We are the supporters, willing us on. We are the medals, waiting to be won. We are the touchdowns, waiting to be scored. We are the men and women of all ages. We are the talent of today. We are the potential for tomorrow. We are one team. We are England Touch