Shaw Award winner

Commitment through adversity

University of Kent Forensic Science student Lucy Sheldrick has been presented the Kent Sport Shaw Award in recognition of her Commitment through Adversity. Lucy suffered a significant leg injury during a trampolining practice session and the resulting surgery left her on the long road to recovery. Lucy heard about the facilities and expertise at Kent Sport and called into the Sports Centre to seek support.

Lucy explains what happened: “On 20 January 2017 a trampolining practice session ended with a very bad landing and I broke my leg. I suffered an open fracture to my tibia and fibula. The paramedics took two hours to arrive and they couldn’t administer morphine, so waiting for the right emergency staff was excruciating. I don’t remember much of being at William Harvey Hospital, but the doctors there said there was a high risk of amputation. Luckily, I managed to regain feeling in my foot but it was a close call! I was two weeks at the hospital and two weeks at home, then I returned to Uni. It’s annoying to know such a big injury came from such a tiny mistake, but nothing will demotivate me.”

Lucy went on to say, “Kent Sport assisted my recovery by offering me the fitness programme and staff at the Sports Centre who know of my accident always ask how my recovery is going. I have remained involved as 2017/18 Vice-Captain of the Trampolining Club. The accident was a freak accident and it shouldn’t deter people or scare people from joining a club. Just be careful! The support from the club was great, I got texts and messages throughout the experience.

“Kent Sport have given me a recovery programme and Sarah (my fitness instructor) led me through it and added more to it as I progressed. The facilities at Kent Sport have enabled me to build the strength in my leg and all over. There is other equipment for me to use as I progress further through my recovery. The only thing that would improve Kent Sport would be access to a pool for hydrotherapy!  Kent Sport have been really helpful; I’ve never been to a gym before and I really enjoy it here!”

Sarah Black, Lucy’s personal trainer, had this to say: “Lucy has been one of the most inspirational clients I have worked with. Hearing about her accident in the consultation made me tearful and immediately I wanted to be part of her recovery and get her back to full fitness and health.

“I felt inspired by Lucy’s efforts and her pure determination to get back onto the trampoline. The Shaw Award could not go to a more worthy winner this year.”

“My ultimate goal was for Lucy to be able to resume full function of her ankle and leg without any movement restrictions. The hardest part of prescribing her exercise was knowing about her broken pins. There was always a certain amount of pain Lucy was tolerating and normally I would be confident to recognise healthy pain vs unhealthy. It was a struggle trying to develop flexibility and strength in her ankle when there was the chance she was going to need more surgery. I had to keep coming up with alternatives for the exercises as everything that should, would and could work were often needing modification purely due to her broken pins.

“I decided it would be more beneficial to get Lucy’s total body fitness and function back into maximal level in readiness for her upcoming surgery. When I heard that Lucy was definitely expected back into surgery to rectify the broken pins, it was actually the best news, despite Lucy’s mortification. It made sense to fix her ankle pins and then progress her recovery knowing we had removed the barriers.

“Therefore, more work in cardio to improve her fitness was prioritised. Work on upper body strength, core, power and total body was more achievable and realistic. I took the focus away from the ankle and the leg and pushed that energy into getting to the gym and to just do anything. In a society that has developed a sedentary lifestyle, I am a firm believer that any exercise is good exercise. Just move more and sit less!

“So my task was to get Lucy into the habit of exercising, stop sitting at home catastrophizing about her injury as it was not going to help. Sitting at home because she had little movement in her ankle was only going to weaken her other muscles and degrade her fitness. Therefore resuming exercise post-surgery would prove that much harder when she was indeed ready. We were rehabbing mind, body and soul back into routine.

“I felt inspired by Lucy’s efforts and her pure determination to get back onto the trampoline. The Shaw Award could not go to a more worthy winner this year. I hope Lucy will use this experience and learn from it; nothing she is faced with will ever be too hard for her. She is a successor when it comes to injury rehab.”

Congratulations to Lucy for all her efforts and for winning the Shaw Award and Kent Sport wishes her all the best!

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